I love deadlines, because they have pulled out the best in me. Without them, I tend to get sluggish, lazy and procrastinate. For people who work in creative fields, following deadlines is a challenge. Thinking creatively to present something unique within the restricted time span is real tough.
I’ve often missed multiple deadlines by wasting precious hours on pondering over thoughts, leaving me completely frustrated. Also, for work that doesn’t involve creativity, it’s tough to maintain interest levels and think out-of-the-box to do things differently.
If you are looking to create your personal brand, the secret doesn’t lie in advertising or talking about your achievements but, in realizing your goals within the time span expected. I wished to create a personal brand image of someone who ‘consistently delivers the best, within deadlines’ but, never could. I remember a frustrated me giving up completely. It was the time to pause for a while to re-think. And this is what I concluded through introspection:
Positivity sets you on a winning path. Think positive and things will start changing. Be determined not only to meet the present deadline but all the future ones too. Be prepared to change your approach.
Never focus on what you have lost, see what you have to achieve. Stop focusing on the fact that you have crossed all deadlines, as these thoughts will only burden your mind. Thus, slowing you down and affecting your performance. Negative thoughts are exhausting. Though time cannot be reversed, you can improve your productivity by learning skills to maximize your abilities and time.
Have you completely grasped and understood the job in hand? Discuss with your seniors about what is expected. This is the first step to chalking a clear roadmap to success, whether you are a businessperson or an employee.
Ask any successful person about how they’ve learnt the most precious lessons from their life to achieve success. Most probably their answer will be, “a lot through experience, retrospection, and introspection.” This will give you an insight about your shortcomings, weaknesses, and mistakes too.
Think about what made you miss the deadlines? You might have spent time on unimportant activities. List your tasks and number them in the order of importance. What is your highest priority? Finish off the things which are important for you to achieve your goals and dream.
You can prioritise only when your goals are clearly defined. What do you want to achieve and what are your dreams? This needs a bit of soul searching. If you haven’t done it yet, you need to do it now, as your future course of action, day to day activities will depend on it and so will your happiness. A dream transforms into reality only when the dreamer has a blueprint to achieve it. Yes, you read it right, the blueprint. It is the blueprint that enforces the productivity smoothly.
Now it’s time to break down the entire task into simple steps and identify which part requires maximum time. Why is a particular task consuming too much of your time? Do you need to change the way you do it or is it simply a task which cannot be individually handled? If you need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to approach someone.
It might also happen that you have not found the best way to do the task. When you are puzzled over the process, ask for guidance from someone; may be an expert, colleague, senior, mentor, etc as to how efficiently the task can be completed. Just remember one thing, do NOT hesitate.
If you need to upgrade your skills or learn about new technology, never think the other side, just move ahead to grasp it. It is never too late to relearn, unlearn or learn new things. It would consume a bit of your time now, but in the long run, you will emerge as a winner, as you will be able to achieve your targets in future and life would be much easier. This is an investment that will reap high returns.
Relearning and unlearning is vital in a knowledge economy. Gerd Leonhard, a futurist says that technology created by humans redefines what we can and will do. So incorporate technology wherever it is necessary and move ahead.
Once you have the entire outline written as to how much time each task requires, how you are going to execute each task, write down the deadline for each task. Keep a buffer time for uncalled delays.
Oh yes! Stick to your plan; don’t let the plan be only on paper, so the plan should be realistic, something achievable.
Last but not the least, are you a compulsive procrastinator always telling yourself you will miss the deadline, enslaved in self-defeating prophecy? If you are then shed this approach to work, NOW. Well, you might also be afraid of failures, and success too, which is leading to the procrastination. Six psychological theories explain that why you might be procrastinating.
Life gives you chances but, if you miss them all, you become a loser. Work like today is the last day of your life and there is never going to be tomorrow, and make yourself productive today.
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