Do you work to deadlines?
Do you set a deadline out in the future and watch with increasing anxiety as the deadline marches toward you? Then, perhaps on some specific day — who knows which one — you see the writing on the wall and you kick into gear.
Trusting Your Get-Going-NOW Mechanism
For some projects, you get going the very day it’s due. For others, you may kick into gear weeks beforehand. But for most of us, it seems that whatever triggers the NOW-it’s-time-to-get-going mechanism, it’s usually right on schedule.
The projects for which NOW is the day of the deadline are simple enough (or you know it well enough) so you really can just spit it out right then and there.
And the projects for which NOW is days or weeks or months in advance require more time and attention. Your inner-scheduler can usually gauge when it’s time to begin.
Example: My Big Project with a 2-Year Timeline
I’ve just finished getting ready for 40-minute talk I’m giving to a large crowd at a conference in Chicago this week. It’s a new talk on asking that rather over-promises in its title: How to Ask for What You Want and Get It.
Seemed like a great idea when I made it up nearly two years ago. But then as the months went by, I wasn’t so sure. Could I really make good on telling people how to ask for what they want and get it?
Gradually I became more anxious as the idea stewed in my brain. Many nights I woke up ruminating.
Then, finally, about two months ago, I dove in. I read some fascinating books. I hired a coach to walk me through a process. I got my graphic designer to work with me on my slides. I set up a trial run group of friends.
And today I’m heading to Chicago to give my talk.
Ready Just in Time
After untold hours, I think I know what I’m going to say. I plan to give the talk without a note. I’ve worn the outline of my talk into grooves in my brain so that even staring out at hundreds of people I won’t lose the thread.
Once again, my get-going-NOW mechanism kicked in at exactly the right time. I needed the early months to stew about it. I needed the last couple of months to work on it. And I needed yesterday, today and tomorrow to make sure the talk became a grove in my brain.
Trusting My Inner-Scheduler
I would never have been able to consciously schedule the process on a calendar. I just had to trust that my inner workings and my adrenaline levels would let me know when it was time to get going.
Will my talk be great? Well, I certainly hope so. But however it turns out, it’s been amazing to weave together a talk on a complex idea that has become mature enough to finally become clear and even simple. The process has been rewarding in and of itself.
Do you want to know how to ask for what you want and get it? You’ll have to wait til I get back from Chicago. I want to share my answer to my conference group first!
Consider Your Own Inner-Scheduling Mechanism
Becoming more conscious of your own process to meet project deadlines may help you meet them more effectively with less stress.
So what’s the mechanism that gets you going on projects? Do you write out a schedule for yourself and stick to it? Do you rely on your inner voices like I do? Or have you found some other great way of getting things done when they need to be done?
Please share your strategies and tactics in the comments below or leave a comment on Facebook.
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