Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Power of a Deadline

I'm in the thick of it. Every room shows evidence of this work in progress. No stone -- piece of paper, souvenir, book (really!), practical or impractical item -- unturned. It's a mess. But there is progress. I've been ransacking my home for months now and have finally come to realize what I have always known to be true of myself. I love a deadline. Or perhaps more true, I need a deadline.

As a marketing and communications counselor for the past 30 years, this was well known by me and my colleagues. I do my best work closer to the deadline. Apparently a journalist at heart. My world was ruled by deadlines. I rarely missed one. And a personal pattern was born and habitually replayed for 30 years.

How about you? Are you a "get it done as soon as possible" or a "wait until the last minute" or "I never finish anything before starting the next thing" type of person?

My deadlines are very different these days; longer stretches of discretionary hours. I do well with client deadlines but personal ones...they are self-determined, and consequently, pretty fluid. And I'm discovering that's not a great thing. My house is exhibit A.

Ah, but the power of a deadline. I'm entertaining a group on Friday. The clock is ticking.

What I want to understand and figure out is how I can harness the power of deadlines in my life.

I have a perpetually long to-do list (the curse of a visionary-type...always seeing the possibilities). Recently I began shifting from a to-do list to a done-it list. I love the sense of completion and accomplishment in the ordinary tasks of daily life.

But deadlines. I realize I really need them. They are gift and motivator and accountability.

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