Why I Use Deadlines

posted by Andrea | 07/5/2012

I have many, many deadlines in my business life.

Deadlines to submit guest posts by  a specific date.

Deadlines to schedule posts for my own blog

Deadlines for advertising

Deadlines for giveaways

Deadlines for sending invoices

Deadlines to pay my quarterly taxes, etc. etc.

I have many other deadlines in my personal life.

Deadlines to RSVP for specific events

Deadlines to get to the grocery store before a specific deal is over

Deadlines to schedule doctor and dentist appointments

Deadlines to order our kitchen cabinets

Deadlines to make hotel and/or flight reservations for family vacations

Deadlines for car repairs and oil changes, etc. etc.

My lists could go on and on…

Sometimes deadlines can be stressful, but for the most part, I find that I work better and am much more productive if I have a deadline I’m working to beat (yeah, I’m competitive like that!)

Now obviously, paying my taxes and getting to the grocery store before a specific deal/coupon expires are real deadlines, but there are many other “deadlines” I try to follow even though I don’t necessarily have to.

I don’t have to do laundry or clean the house on a specific day, but I find that things run smoother and I get more accomplished if I give myself a deadline to have all the cleaning done by a specific time during the week.

I’ve also found that I am SO much more productive if I give myself a deadline to write my blog posts for an entire week in one day. I work hard for a full day (and have a babysitter for Nora) and then have the rest of the week to work on all my other deadlines!

Dave often sets deadlines for himself too — even though it’s summer and he really doesn’t HAVE to do anything. He still tries to go to school once a week and work ahead for next year, plan student council activities, and think about his upcoming basketball season.

And you thought teachers just slept in all summer long :)

Even though I don’t tend to procrastinate, deadlines still give me that extra incentive to “do it now” instead of waiting until later — and yes, this is especially helpful now that I have a baby and my energy levels aren’t as high as they used to be :)

Do you set deadlines for yourself?

Are you more productive because of these deadlines?

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5 comments

  1. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    07/05/2012

    Absolutely! If I don’t have deadlines and goals, I wander around the house and do nothing or spend my time on things that don’t matter.

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  2. Lisa

    07/05/2012

    I like that idea, BUT I can’t trick myself into believing those self-imposed deadlines. Procrastination and I are well acquainted!

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  3. Deb

    07/05/2012

    I am a SAHM with no business, but I try to give myself incentives, like if I finish something hard or that I have been dreading, I will sit and read a magazine or at the end of the day (night), I always take a shower and that is my reward and the END to the day, no more mommy work after that. All of our bills are automatically taken out, so don’t have to worry about those and we just are never late on library books or stuff like that. Grocery ads come out on Wed. so I usually go on Thursday, etc, laundry I do as soon as there is a full load, I figure it is never going to be less than a full load, so might as well do it right away………..all that to say that the incentives work for me, worstest firstest as my daughter loves to say……………

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  4. Cathy

    07/07/2012

    I am self-employed and have several clients. I used to use my client’s deadlines (I am a bookkeeper) as my own deadlines, but many times they can conflict, or a client has trouble getting work to me in time and by the time I get it I have pressure from several angles.
    So I have tried to set my own deadlines of getting the work done before it is due, but will give me room to move to another project. It means I chase the clients more than they chase me. This can work well.

    So my question is to all you organized people out there – how do you not let your own self imposed deadlines stress you out? What are your tricks?
    (I am really keen to keep stress to a minimum – and I know often there is a few tricks to see things from a different perspective).

    [Reply]

  5. Stephanie

    07/10/2012

    I used to give everything a deadline, but I found after a while of doing that, it just made the problem worse for me as a chronic procrastinator, because, I knew subconsciously that the deadlines were “fake”, and it just created a habit where all deadlines were meaningless.

    “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” –Douglas Adams

    I recently became a GTD (Getting Things Done)[1] convert, and have started applying the system to my life. One of the habits taught is to only apply deadlines where they really exist and somewhat counter-intuitively to deemphasize priorities. My experience with that has been that I can spend more time figuring out what priority something should have or when the deadline should be than it actually takes to get the task done.

    What I now do is put tasks that aren’t tied to a specific time onto my “next actions” list., and tasks that are time sensitive in any way (whether that’s because they have to happen AT a particular time, or BY a particular time) go on the calendar. By focusing more on what needs to be done vs when to do it or how important to do it, I really don’t have the trouble with massive lists I used to have (my old system actually had turned into more of a tool to avoid and dread doing work)

    I also try to follow and apply the “2 minute rule” – any task that takes less than 2 minutes will take more time to process into my task system than it will to actually do, so I make every effort to just do it, and only add it to a list if there’s some reason I can’t do it in the moment. Most of my household stuff falls into that category – putting dishes into the dishwasher, picking up clutter, etc. 20 seconds now to save 20 minutes later is a win to me.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done

    [Reply]

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