Productivity Tactic #4: Set Deadlines

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline” -Nolan Bushnell

The next key step I advise to productively tackle any goal or resolution is to set proper deadlines for yourself – emphasis on the “for yourself” part there. The most important thing is that you are the manager of your own time and the maker of your own expectations.

So give yourself a time frame to accomplish the steps towards each of your goals, which you’ve begun laying out with Tactic #3: Thing Big, Act Small. Each step will need its own deadline, as well as a higher level time frame for the bigger resolution. Both are important, and juggling them can be challenging. That’s why I’ve developed My 2012 Resolutions Google Doc, where I list out each step I’ve tasked myself with, which resolution it helps achieve, and when I will aim to get it done by.

Remember, I’ve also made this system into a Google Docs Template, so you can try it out as well and see if it will help you on your journey.

Now the key with deadline setting is to be realistic, but not afraid to push yourself. While it’s good to recognize that a particular step will be impossible to achieve in say, just 1 day, I also urge you to remember a certain rule of thumb I’ve come to appreciate, which I discovered with the help of Tim Ferriss. It’s called Parkinson’s Law. It essentially says that any task will take as much time as you allot it to get done. So whether you give yourself two weeks or two days to complete a task, it will probably take you that long.

To illustrate this point, think back to a survey you’ve sent out to your friends in the past, perhaps one meant to help schedule a fun outing. You might have noticed how everyone seemed to fill out the survey either instantly after you sent it out or right before its expiration. The lesson is it’s always easier to do something the fresher the reminder, whether that’s right when you start to do something or right when you’re supposed to have finished it.

So do yourself a favor and set deadlines as ambitious as you can reasonably manage, and then hold yourself to those! No one ever accomplished anything extraordinary by taking the easy road.

Plus, you should already have a manageable list of goals with actionable steps to take towards each that you’ve prioritized nicely.

Now just add those deadlines, and you just might surprise yourself with how much you can achieve and how quickly you can achieve it!

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Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Comment below and tell us one of your Artist goals this year & what deadline you are setting for yourself to get it done!

12 thoughts on “Productivity Tactic #4: Set Deadlines

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  7. Pingback: Productivity Tactic #5: Don’t Justify | The Productive Artist

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