A few days after Christmas I had to rush my mom to the hospital. She had been having chest pain for days and it was getting worse. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing more than a pulled muscle. But it shook me up. As I waited in the ER, I thought about all of the things – personal and professional – I wanted to achieve while my mom was still around. “Why,” I thought, “Was I waiting so long to take action on the things that really mattered to me?”
No matter how important it is for us to act or change, we delay. Our procrastination defeats our progress, kills our momentum, and leaves us frustrated.
Fortunately there’s one line you can you add to your day to get faster results.
It’s a deadline.
We all have a natural Big Deadline in our lives, and knowing that we are running out of time should be enough to make us take action on our top priority today. But for some reason almost all of us procrastinate. We’ll do almost anything to avoid working on what matters.
After getting my Mom home safe from the hospital, I couldn’t get the nagging “what if” out of my head all week. I resolved to change and implemented deadlines to spur me to action on the big projects I needed to finish in my life, including writing my first book, The Perfect Day Formula. Thanks to the deadlines I set, and the consequences I wanted to avoid for missing those deadlines, I finished the book and it will be available soon.
You must learn to harness the power of The Big Deadlines in your life. You’ve done it before. Think back to the last time you went on vacation. You sure were productive on that final day of work before it started, weren’t you?
A Big Deadline is the best motivation. It signifies the light at the end of the tunnel, the finish line at the end of the home stretch that inspires us to accelerate our progress and push harder towards our goals. The deadline puts urgency into our actions and keeps us going through the tough times and dark days. It is what keeps my fat loss transformation clients on track after weeks of avoiding temptation, and it holds the same power for you.
Without it, we procrastinate. We put off our best intentions until tomorrow when we should be doing them today. But if you want to succeed, you must have Big Deadlines on your schedule for what really matters in life. Deadlines are harsh, honest, and unforgiving. They work like nothing else.
There are two ways deadlines can help you have The Perfect Day.
First, you can use them in your daily routines by setting limits on your workday. For example, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO at Facebook, is famous for setting a rule that she would be home every night at 5:30pm to have dinner with her children. That is a non-negotiable deadline.
Deadlines must also be applied to your daily tasks. It’s one thing to plan out a busy day of activities on your to-do list, but if you don’t include a cut-off time for them, such as limiting a phone call to no more than 20 minutes, than these activities will all last longer than planned and cut into the amount of work you can accomplish. A jam-packed to-do list with no deadlines can leave you frustrated due to a lack of progress on what really matters in your life.
The second, and most important way to harness the power of the Big Deadline is by setting an end date for achieving your goals. Your dreams must have a deadline. Personal transformation programs work best when set for 90 days or less. That is long enough for significant changes to be made, but short enough so my clients can always see the finish line and are reassured all of this effort will be worth it soon.
But if you want to aggressively pursue success, take your deadline and cut it in half. At first this new deadline might seem near impossible to hit, but after reflection, you should think that yes, you can do it, if you put the 5 Pillars in place for your success. (The 5 Pillars are: Planning & Preparing, Professional Accountability, Social Support, an Incentive, and The Big Deadline.)
Challenge yourself. Otherwise you might suffer from, Parkinson’s Law, which states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
If you don’t have a deadline for your projects, then you’ll continue to add to your to-do list and the work will drag on forever. If you have a project that is lingering, set a deadline – one that comes with meaningful consequences for missing it – and get it done.
Every deadline should come with incentives. You might choose to inflict a punishment upon yourself (such as making a donation to a political party or cause that you dislike), or you might offer yourself a reward for success.
I struggled with Parkinson’s Law and procrastination when creating myTurbulence Training Fat Loss Certification for personal trainers. My preparation work dragged on and on until I finally set a Big Deadline, booked a filming date, and pre-paid for a conference room and videographer. By setting the filming date with meaningful consequences (paying all that money with nothing to show for it if I wasn’t ready), the Big Deadline gave me the urgency I needed to get the work done and avoid the punishment of wasting the money spent on the room and film crew.
Deadlines force you to focus and take the actions you need to take in order to achieve your big goals and dreams. There is nothing as powerful as the urgency of a deadline – set with meaningful consequences – to finally get you to take action.
When it comes to success, making money, and living the life of your dreams, nothing beats action.
My Law of ACTION Attraction states, “When you do the work, when you do great things, when you add value, people will notice, and will want to help you out.”
Add a deadline to your days. Hit it. And you’ll make massive progress towards your big goals and dreams.