Deadlines On The Double

They sound scary. They loom. They hang in the back of our minds and haunt us. Ugh. Deadlines. Let’s be honest, though: deadlines help us set tangible benchmarks to help us get the work done, no matter how heavy they may feel along the way.

In a world of endless hustle and slay each day, there’s a lot to tackle. Work, home, kids, school, volunteering, fitness, health, church, and more. It’s all the things. So. Many. Things.

That’s all they are, though. Just things. We can prioritize and plan all day long, have a killer morning routine, and wake each day before the sun to get started on all those things, but if we’re just tackling the day-to-day stuff and not applying our efforts toward our personal growth and overall big picture, then the really meaningful things won’t get done, will they? Nope. It will be the easy wins that get accomplished, just the small stuff we can power through with our eyes closed, that will rise to the top and checked off the daily to-do list. These little tasks still need to get done, no doubt, but when they take top priority, they will quickly cloud our ability to achieve more, masking the opportunities we have to truly grow. Why? Simply because we keep putting off our really big and meaningful goals for the small stuff.

No more, friends. No more.

So how do we tackle the big things head-on and make sure every moment of time and priceless ounce of effort we expend helps us move in the right direction, toward those bigger things? We create deadlines, internal ones, so we can genuinely make meaningful progress, wherever we’d like to go. We’ve just gotta do it. We have to set those measurable and productive deadlines and commit to them. C’mon – we’ve got this.

Here’s a great example: I’ve spent almost two years now working on a book. I’m really excited about it, and I’m super passionate about the topic. Wait for it…if I were actually working on it, like really writing words every day for two years, I’d probably have a pretty fabulous draft to pitch by now. Confession: to be perfectly honest, I’ve only spent about 6 months on it, and then toyed around editing here and there, picking it up and putting it down for the better part of a year or more. Whomp whomp. Fail.

Do I love this book project? I do. Does it inspire me to the core? Yes! Is it done? Nope. Is it close? Maybe, but not really. Why? Well, there’s no end in sight, and I’ve put zero legitimate expectations on myself to really get it done in a timely fashion. It’s just inching forward at a true snail’s pace – maybe even slower than that. It needs a deadline, on the double!

When I’ve committed to deadlines for myself on other things, I’ve hit them. I’ve crushed them, and I bet you have too. I can hit deadlines when they exist. If I didn’t set this blog post deadline, I’d be putting my passion for writing aside (yet again) for the 101 other workouts, activities, and trips to the grocery store I’d be prioritizing ahead of the stuff I truly love to do. Don’t get me wrong – I love all of these other things too (well, maybe not the grocery shopping one) – but it’s time to prioritize what fuels and drives us on the daily, with deadlines to push toward. Are your wheels turning yet? Do you have a deadline to set? Hmm…I bet you do.

Perfection may be the biggest enemy standing in our way, and we have to let that go. So, if the blog posts are so-so, and the book draft is just a sloppy copy first shot, that’s okay. It’s a start and it’s something. We can all push ourselves faster and harder to get the real work done if we just try, and it will get better. It will happen if we set deadlines, commit to them, and just do the work. We can’t overthink it, or for that matter just keep thinking about it. Our top priorities are only going to become true accomplishments and wins if we set deadlines and run toward the finish lines – hard.

So here we go.

One blog post per month in 2019: check (so far, so good). Deadline set.

Write a book in 2019? Yes. Deadline? Eeek. This is the hard part where it’s time to commit. Deep breath. Yep – let’s do it. My first draft will be done by August 1. Will I hit it? I sure will. We’ve gotta believe it to achieve it, right? If I don’t hit it, it’s not the end of the world, as long as I’ve been pushing forward in the meantime, working as hard as I can to make that deadline. The only way to fail is to not even try, or to not even set a deadline or write any words. Well, y’all – that’s not an option anymore. The deadline is set, and I’m running for it, typing words.

So be honest. Really honest. What are you running for, and what’s your deadline? Let’s commit together. I’m with you 100%. We’ve got this.