Last Updated on August 4, 2022
If the thought of creating deadlines for the things you need to get done gives you sweaty palms, you’re not alone. Sometimes it’s easier to pretend that there isn’t a “must be done by” date, plug your ears, and sing la-la-la. That works for a minute, but isn’t the answer.
Ultimately, many of us fear failure. In fact, some women fear failure so much that they often completely disregard the need for timeframes on their goals and future accomplishments. They find comfort in the fact that if goals are not constrained by a deadline, then they can’t fail. Nothing gained, nothing lost, right?
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a deadline for your goals, then you won’t succeed either. As morbid as it sounds, even life has a deadline! Deadlines matter when achieving your goals, girlfriend.
So, let’s talk about the importance of deadlines and why they are essential to achieving your goals.
A goal can be described as the desired result of your ambition. Furthermore, it can be categorized as either short-term or long-term, and yes, even long-term goals should have deadlines. “In the future” or “soon” is not considered an acceptable cut-off point.
To establish a deadline requires a balance between what time period you want to achieve your goal and the time frame in which you remain motivated enough to work towards it.
You find balance easier when you set goals that are to be achieved in smaller timeframes.
The reality is that when a goal is set to be achieved in a year or more, you allow yourself to make no progress in the beginning stages because it is “very far away” only to fall further behind as months go by. By letting this happen, you either give up on the goal completely or totally commit to it.
Circling back to what was mentioned earlier, if you fear failure, you will most likely choose to give up.
To avoid going in circles (because all that serves to do is make us dizzy), the most beneficial thing you can do is keep your goals brief enough so that you are driven for the entire duration. Deadlines force action.
On the contrary, if you also have long-term goals, as many of us do, then you treat sub-goals with sub-deadlines as steppingstones to the ultimate result.
By flipping the deadline switch, your projects come to life. No project exists until you set realistic deadlines and achievable deadlines. Let’s take a closer look at five essentials of meeting deadlines, getting into the why, what, and when of meeting deadlines.
The Importance of Deadlines – 5 Motivators
Deadlines Compel You to Clearly Define Your Goals
The what is the goal. As soon as the what gets a deadline, it moves front and center in your sight. You evolve from an area of thinking to planning when you give yourself a date. Even serious athletes set deadlines; they have benchmarks, targets, milestones, and they train almost every day to achieve those because it is no longer floundering about in their peripheral vision.
A swimmer’s goal of wanting to beat her own best time in a 200-meter backstroke becomes her main focus only when she decides that it must be achieved by the end of the training season.
When you are focused, you automatically begin to figure out how you’re going to hit that deadline and complete that task or project. The problem-solving power we all possess isn’t activated until the time constraint button flashes red.
The power of the mind is no joke, and even when you aren’t conscious of it, your brain is always weighing options and searching for possibilities, probabilities, and how to accomplish the desired result.
Sometimes for me, it’s in the middle of the night, which can be frustrating, but working through all the steps of a task or project, issu,e or dilemma, are part of the process of meeting the deadline and accomplishing the goal.
Deadlines Serve to Give You a Sense of Urgency
Until you set a deadline, your problem-solving abilities are put on the back burner because “what’s the rush?” As soon as a deadline is set, however, your brain is continuously telling you that you need to get, whatever your goal may be, done.
When you have limited time, there are only so many ways in which you can choose to spend it.
A timestamp creates a sense of urgency. As you are the only one who can achieve your goals, you set the agenda, and without urgency, people tend to procrastinate. Urgency helps complete tasks according to their importance in your life.
To make better use of your time, you need to decide on doing what is most important to you first and working towards your goals should be top of the list.
A Deadline Date Keeps You Accountable
If deadlines are so useful in helping us achieve our goals, then why aren’t more people setting them? The truth is a deadline is a commitment and commitments are stressful.
You create unnecessary stress over deadlines when you think of your goal as being done all at once when in actual reality, this is seldom how things work. People naturally break down big projects into bite-sized chunks and by eating these chucks spoon-by-spoon you simplify the process dramatically.
If this is the case, was there even something worthy of stressing over in the first place?
By setting a deadline, you are essentially taking charge, realizing that deadlines set expectations for ourselves. You are not going to make yourself a promise you can’t keep, and if at some point it turns out to be this way, you can essentially just let it go.
At the end of the day, it is your life, your goals, and you don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself.
Managing Deadlines Enhance Your Creativity
Your goals are easier to solve when you know the period in which you must complete them. Nothing comes easy, and there are always going to be setbacks along the way regarding time and resources.
You’re going to think of very different solutions for different timestamps. For instance, your solutions for a goal you have will differ depending on how much time you have to achieve it; this could be a week, a month, or even a year. By setting deadlines, you are able to sort through your resources and options quicker.
Many people only reach their full creative potential when a tight deadline requires creative solutions. It is proven that when there are circumstances that force creativity, you are more likely to be creative.
On the contrary, when there is an absence of a deadline, you may spend too much time trying to achieve perfectionism in every aspect of the goal at hand. Not only does this suck the fun out of things but over-analyzing each and every corner of your goal takes up too much time. Don’t do that.
A time that you could’ve spent doing something else, like working towards a different goal. A deadline thus gives a balance between timely delivery and high-quality standards.
Deadlines Help Boost Self-confidence
There is nothing more rewarding than a boosted sense of accomplishment. Every deadline you are able to meet is a small win from the jackpot. Even more so, you have every right to be proud of yourself, and celebrating accomplishments may be the very thing that keeps you motivated enough to achieve the deadlines ahead.
People tend to value near-future rewards more than distant-future rewards, even if the distant-future reward is significantly greater. In other words, a sum of successful short-term accomplishments gives a bigger confidence boost than one big accomplishment.
Self-esteem and confidence increase when you know that you can achieve something. People often underestimate themselves in the regard that they can beat the odds and achieving a goal in a set time frame.
Don’t let the fear of missing a deadline when achieving a goal prevent you from setting a deadline altogether. By simply setting a deadline, you are winning, even if you miss it. You’ll never know if you can hit a deadline if you don’t try.
While it’s always important to create deadlines that are motivating, challenging, and push you forward in life, remember that your overall health, sanity, and self care are also priorities. Maintain the balance, my friend.
By trying, you can learn and pick up on good habits that will always be useful in life. Please remember, a deadline can always be reset; there is no point in beating yourself up about it. In fact, your very failure could be exactly the drive you need to do better.