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"Deadlines are Lifelines"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"™

(c) 2001, A Few Good People, Inc.

Nobody likes deadlines.  Pressure!  Stress!  Anxiety!  But we’ve all dealt with them.  If you’ve ever written a term paper the night before it is due, raise your hand.  (Mine is raised.)  If you’ve ever “crammed” for an exam the night before it was given, raise your hand.  (Mine is raised.) 

It has been said that 75% of all modern technology was perfected within 48 hours of a trade show.  Why?  The trade show is a perfect example of a deadline; products simply must be ready because the stakes are high.

Even though they tend to be unpleasant, they can be turned to your advantage.  How?  By using them to motivate yourself to get things accomplished!  Here are some examples of how I have purposely set deadlines for myself in order to insure that I get things done.

As I learned about the speaking business, it became apparent that it was critical that I write articles such as this one.  They can be used in a number of ways to further my career, but I knew that they would never get written unless I had deadlines.  When John Patrick approached me to write this column in the Alpenhorn, I was thrilled; not only because I would have the opportunity to be printed in his paper, but because I knew that the deadlines would get me to actually write these articles!

I offer several different speaking programs, one of which is “10 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Screw-up Your Small Business”.  Before the program was even developed, I made a commitment to give it at a Chamber of Commerce off the mountain.  They scheduled a date, sent out notices, arranged a special luncheon, etc.  Do you think I was ready when the time came?  You bet I was!  Do you think I would have developed that program without the deadline?  Probably not!  Now I have a program that I can offer; a product that was created by forcing myself into a deadline situation.

Do you have an idea for a product or service that you’d like to develop?  Are you waiting for “just the right time” to get it off the ground?  Do you think you’ll really do it?  Set a deadline for yourself.  Make a commitment to someone other than yourself; a commitment that, if missed, will cause you great embarrassment or loss of credibility.  You’ll be amazed at how motivated you get!

Somebody once asked me, “Why don’t you just set your own deadline?”

My answer is this:  for me, that isn’t a great enough motivator.  If I just post a note on my computer that I have to do thus-and-such by a certain date, I don’t really take it seriously.  It doesn’t work, but that’s just me.  If it works for you, great!  Do it!  I need to make a commitment to someone else to make this concept work for me.  And I do.  And it does.

Find out what works for you, and then do it.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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