Self-Imposed Deadlines

Deadlines

Do you work better with self-imposed (internal) deadlines or those that come externally?  Let’s start with some examples:

  • You want to update your resume so that you can apply for a new job (this is internal because no one else is telling you to do it and you have a choice).
  • A customer or your manager requires you to complete a project by a certain date (this is external, you don’t have a choice).
  • You are planning a big birthday party for someone in your family (probably a blend of internal and external).

External implies little or no control of the situation; you must do it.  Externally imposed deadlines usually get done because there is a consequence.  The consequence could be positive (an incentive exists) or negative (fear of losing a job or peer pressure).

Deadlines are the pretty much the same as goals.  A life skill in goal accomplishment is personal accountability including motivation, planning and discipline (and avoiding procrastination).  The insight is to use these same skills for self-imposed goals too.

If the goal is long-term, e.g. successfully transition to a new job by January 2019 then Vision is needed too.  Don’t forget to make goals and deadlines SMART:  specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timed.

An interesting discovery when I looked at the definition of deadline when I found this: “a line drawn around a prison beyond which prisoners were liable to be shot”.  Now that is a consequence.

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