I don’t know about you, but when I am working on a project that doesn’t have a deadline attached to it, I find it a lot harder to finish it.
Give me a project on a deadline (especially an almost impossible to reach one) and I’ll be turning into Superwoman to meet it. I take on the task head-on and plow through it full steam with an unwavering belief in being able to finish it by the deadline. On the other hand, when I work on a project that “would be nice to finish when I can”, that finish line is like a moving target because other aforementioned deadline driven projects or tasks sneak in and push it back.
Coaching speakers, trainers and business owners, I know I am not alone with this. When you develop a speech that you need to present in 5 days from now, you’ll be on it – that deadline is non-negotiable and not meeting it is just not an option. The consequences are just too severe… standing on stage unprepared, looking like you don’t know what you’re taking about, being embarrassed in front of the audience. On the other hand, when you know you should write an email follow up sequence to support engagement with a lead magnet, you know this is of great importance, but without a firm deadline looming over your head, other important or just urgent projects/tasks may sneak in and take precedence.
So, how do you give your non-deadline driven projects a fair chance? Here are a few tips:
- Create a list of importance – is that email follow up sequence really less important than tweaking a presentation you have already done several times but wanted to tweak some more? Sure, the presentation tweaks can have short term consequences if not completed, but think of the long term consequences of not completing the email sequence. Potential clients are not getting another communication sequence from you, which will not create the engagement you’re looking to achieve, which will then make them less likely to convert into a client, which in turn directly effects your income.
When you create your list of importance, ask yourself these questions:
– What are the benefits if I complete this task/project?
– What are the consequences if I don’t complete this task/project?
- Create deadlines for your non-urgent tasks and projects. It may sound silly at first to attach an artificial deadline, but give it a chance – it works. Be reasonable when you set these deadlines (no need to turn into Superman or Superwoman), but once you established the importance of the task or project, acknowledge that completing it deserves your time.
- Break down big tasks or projects into smaller “bitesize” tasks. Often we don’t tackle a big project because it seems bigger than it actually is. But once we start breaking it down into smaller action steps, we realize that it is possible. When I find myself saying “I don’t even know where to start” I know it’s time to break it down into smaller steps. Once I do that, my starting point becomes clear and I have a concrete path to follow.
Try these simple tips and watch yourself complete projects you have been putting off!
Start now, finish strong,