It can be so easy to set a goal and then make surprisingly little progress on it. Why does this failure happen when you started with all the best intentions? I'll tell you why... You didn’t set a deadline.
There is a reason that you can work well under pressure. That's because you know you need to get everything done by a certain time. So you push yourself to get it done in the required timeframe. The secret to achieving your goals can be as simple as setting a self-imposed goal deadline.
But how do you know when that deadline should be? There are 3 simple time management questions you should ask yourself to determine what your deadline should be.
3 Questions to Determine Your Goal Deadline
1. When would you be disappointed?
Ask yourself when you'd feel disappointed if you hadn’t completed your goal by this time. When is it too late to achieve the things you want to achieve?
If you are prone to procrastination, then this date is going to be very important to you. It'll ensure you don't procrastinate so much that you miss your goal completely. By putting an end date down on paper it helps you move your intentions into action. Beginning to take that action will keep you working towards success.
When you know what that ‘too late date’ is, explore why it will be too late.
- Does completing this goal impact other follow on things in your life?
- How will it make you feel if you miss your deadline?
- Is someone relying on you for something?
- What are the consequences of missing your deadline?
Knowing all the negatives associated with NOT completing your goal will motivate you to keep pushing until your achieve it.
2. When would you be delighted?
When would you need to complete your goal by to be absolutely delighted? If you put this date together with your ‘too late date’, then you have a window to achieve your goal within. You can also use the positives of completing your goal to motivate you. So ask yourself these questions about your ‘delighted date’:
- How will you feel if you complete your goal on time?
- What will you be able to do as a result of completing your goal?
- What are the flow on effects of completing this goal?
- Is there something you gain from completing?
- What reward will you be able to give yourself now?
3. When is realistic?
It'd be amazing to be able to drop everything and focus solely on your goal. But 9 times out of 10, that's not practical. There will be other things in your life that might delay you from getting started, or get in the way of your progress.
Look at the window between your ‘delighted date’ and your ‘too late date’. Then look at everything you have going on in your personal and business life. You can then make a realistic deadline for your goal that factors in all of your commitments.
The Date Range
Now you have a clear picture of the date range that you want to complete your goal within. Start working towards your ‘delighted date’, but if things pop up, you still have some time up your sleeve to get everything done by.
The reason I say that you should work towards your ‘delighted date’ is so that you don’t have the chance to procrastinate. If you think you have extra time up your sleeve, then delaying is a real possibility. Working towards the first date on the list will keep you motivated and on track. Think of all the positive things that will happen if you complete your goal so early.
If life truly does get in the way, you still have time to complete your goal before your ‘too late date’. Take comfort in the buffer, but don't rely on it!