Sunday, July 5, 2009

Always set concrete deadlines

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” - Douglas Adams (British comic)

The term "deadline" has always been a grim term. We've all had to deal with them, whether it was back in our school days or at work. I mean heck, it's even got "dead" in it. However, many of us take a deadline's importance for granted in our general lives. Without deadlines, business as we know it wouldn't function properly.

Deadlines are an extension of the simple universal law that dictates that everything that has a beginning must have an end. We deal with deadlines all the time, which is why we take them for granted when we need them for ourselves. The fact is, whenever we are given a predetermined deadline, we work harder to make sure all the work is completed by that date.

Imagine, if you will, that you knew you were going to die in 6 months. I am willing to bet good money that 99% of us would try even harder to live life to the fullest before our "deadline" approaches. The problem is, all of us don't know when our own "deadline" looms, and so we become complacent and comfortable. When it comes to our own lives, most of us don't set deadlines for our goals and/or dreams. As such, we find ourselves drifting from day to day, month to month, constantly deferring what we need to do until "later." However, there's only so much time you can use to defer something until it becomes too late.

It is the ability to predetermine an end that separates successful people from the rest. Any entrepreneur who planned for their business seriously has made religious use of deadlines (i.e. a launch date). Any goals you've set for yourself must be specific not only in nature/amount but also specific in terms of a timeframe.

Here are some tips in setting deadlines:

  • Make them specific. In other words, don't put down "a month" Make it "July 31, 2009"
  • Don't be generous in the timeframe, but be realistic too. Don't give yourself too much time to achieve your goals. Saying that you'll, for example, travel to Europe within 10 years is MUCH too generous. To borrow a term from the "4-Hour Workweek" you should set impossible deadlines. Reason for this is that you will work that much harder to make sure your goal is achieved.
  • Set a deadline for each critical task that needs to be done to achieve your goal. Every journey has its milestones. That's how you keep progress, pace and most of all...motivation.
Deadlines can be used for all aspects of your life. Use them religiously. In fact, use them on your loved ones...and you'll get your grilled cheese sandwich sooner than you thought! How it's delivered to you though...well...that's up to you ;)


  1. What a SUPER post! Everything is so true. Thanks for the great advice and the kick in the butt!

  2. So many inspiring posts... thanks for the great suggestions

  3. I think deadlines might be less daunting...if the name were changed to lifeline. That whole dead part is a really Debbie Downer. *=-)