Analytical Mind

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Why Deadlines Work Wonders

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To friends and readers who have pending projects.

For over two months, Kunle had dreams (and plans) of setting up a blog for soccer enthusiasts but somehow he never got round to registering a blog domain, let alone publish the envisioned stories that was supposed to generate an endless stream of debates. Yesterday, he clicked on a link that took him to The Football Review and he couldn’t help but die a little inside – he was reminded of the pending (or was it abandoned) project he had been so passionate about. He paused his browsing to rethink, for the nth time, his strategy for bringing the soccer blog to existence. 

Can you identify with the above story? I bet many if not all of us will answer in affirmative. The fact that we can identify with the story shows that there is

a ‘Kunle’ in every one of us – one who yearns to accomplish certain dreams and ambitions but finds it almost impossible to do so. Maybe you have experienced difficulty in achieving a particular goal that was dear to your heart? Perhaps the task was too difficult or too boring or you were just plain busy. It doesn’t matter if the goal was to finish reading a book, start a relationship blog or host a career seminar, the result is always the same – nothing gets done!

On the other hand, you might have noticed how three days to an exam, you suddenly seem to possess new powers of understanding and retention. You are suddenly finishing entire chapters in hours or even minutes – what normally took you weeks to accomplish.

The difference between the two scenarios lies in the over-familiar word – deadlines. If you are schooling or have started working then you are already familiar with the word ‘deadline’. Deadlines are all around us; from class to meetings to work to play. We can’t seem to get enough of them. Deadlines are very powerful, yet we fail to understand how to use their powers to our advantage. I have many friends (myself inclusive) who keep making promises and resolutions about goals that never seem to materialize. It is this failure to harness the power of deadlines that is partly responsible for our countless new year resolutions – which are always the same anyways.

So how do they work? How can you use deadlines to your advantage? It’s as easy as the following steps.

  • First, set a finish date for the task at hand. You must aim to complete the project within a time frame.
  • The deadline must be realistic. I repeat realistic! Many people set themselves up for frustration by setting unattainable deadlines. Nothing can be more discouraging than hoping to complete and furnish a house in one day.
  • After setting a realistic deadline, be sure to cultivate these two traits: Integrity and Self Discipline. Integrity ensures that you adhere to what you’ve set out to do and hold yourself accountable even though no one is asking questions. Self Discipline on the other hand enables you to stick to the game plan even when you don’t feel like it. One habit that is sure to reinforce self discipline is the use of Timetables, which I’ll discuss in another post. (Subscribe for the next post here)
  • Be ready to make adjustments. Events will happen that are beyond your control and set you behind schedule. Don’t despair, pick yourself up and review your deadline.
  • Don’t understand setting deadlines yet? Go over the first four steps again and again… till it sinks in. 
There you have them. The secrets to using deadlines to your advantage. The next time you hear the word ‘deadline’, you don’t have to despair. Simply acknowledge it as a tool for success.

If you know a friend who needs to read (or hear) this, kindly share this post with them either privately or on your social networks. They’ll appreciate you for it.

Writer’s Memoirs: I rewrote this article four times over a duration of two weeks. The original draft was written during a volunteering experience two months ago.

Ifeoluwapo Odedere
© 2014

Image credit:  Google Images

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