Deadlines don't sound very inviting, do they? But the word does grab our attention, so I suppose that's a good thing.
But while the word deadlines sounds daunting, I would argue that the best way to deal with deadlines is by embracing the reality that you are in charge (not them). Changing your relationship to your deadlines changes everything!
So when you feel stressed and on overload, step back and think about how to manage the pressures of multiple priorities, tasks, and goals. The skills you practice now will serve you well when you need them most.
To get the ball rolling, how about transforming your deadlines into rewarding exercises in productivity? Not only does this enhance your efficiency, it also builds your confidence, reduces your stress and offers you peace of mind, too.
Do this by re-framing your deadlines as a series of boundary challenges that you possess the power to manage. It is vital to be clear about the fact that you have the power to manage whatever deadline you are working with.
These are your deadlines; you are in charge of them.
Next, use the 3 Time Tips outlined below, knowing that as you practice these skills, you enhance your ability to achieve the goals you've set. This success generates enormous vitality and fundamentally changes the way you relate to deadlines. Doesn't that sound like a win-win proposition?
You and Your Deadlines: 3 Time Tips
1. Understand and respect your hard deadlines.
Hard deadlines are themselves time boundaries: something has to be done by a specific time and date.
These deadlines are non-negotiable and they offer you excellent opportunities to exercise focus and self-reference. That's because to successfully meet a hard deadline you need to set boundaries for yourself (and maybe also for others).
To enhance your self-reference regarding a hard boundary, identify the ways that meeting the deadline will benefit you. This empowers you as it connects you with the task more fully; you now have a personal investment in accomplishing it.
2. Use soft deadlines in combination with hard deadlines.
You can use soft deadlines to reduce the pressure of hard deadlines.
Soft deadlines are actually more like guidelines than deadlines. As necessary, they can be rescheduled to better manage hard deadlines. Just be sure they don't fall off your To Do List entirely!
A good example of a task where soft deadlines can work is raking leaves. You want to be sure to clean them up before the snow flies, but you can exercise some flexibility as to exactly when you do this.
Aim to create your soft deadline well in advance of the hard deadline so you have breathing room.
Another related time tool that can be helpful with hard deadlines is using the "Times-2 Rule" when creating your schedule. Building in extra time for each step positions you to meet your deadline (maybe even with time to spare)!
3. Create a "due date" master plan.
Life isn't simple, and we often have competing priorities. So it's very helpful to step back, scan your schedule and To-Do List to coordinate your various hard and soft deadlines.
And when you do this, be sure to include time to sustain your emotional and physical health. By focusing on your inner well-being, and releasing non-essentials, you shift from an outward-looking scarcity mentality to a self-referenced inner abundance mentality.
Shifting your energetic approach to boundaries and building your time management skills means that you see managing and meeting deadlines as really activating your power. As you build on your successes, you reinforce self-trust, generate more self-confidence, enjoy your productivity, and actually find more time!