How To Meet Deadlines

You’re already late. This was due yesterday. And I want the second half done three minutes ago. Sound familiar? Stupid clocks. Keeping precise track of time has really done a number on our society. By compartmentalizing our days, we have somehow managed to get even less done and not enjoy any of it in the process. Okay fine, that might be a slightly pessimistic view of things.

But seriously, deadlines suck. I want to do everything at the exact moment I no longer need to do it. I love writing poetry. True story; and yes, of course the ladies love it. But give me a deadline to write a poem and suddenly my tongue is as nimble as arthritis and as delicate as a three-week-old, sun-hardened cow pie. Or how about reading a book? I can read two books a day until you tell me to have one finished by tomorrow. I mean it’s unreal how literally this phenomenon occurs.

So what’s a guy to do? Part of being a responsible man is getting stuff done, even when we have to. Fortunately for you, I’ve spent years developing a step-by-step process to help you overcome your fear of success and get ‘er done. And by years, of course, I mean the last five minutes, which of course means I am making 100% of this up as I go.

Step 1: Remind Yourself About The Why

Why are you here, at this moment, doing what you’re doing? Why are you outside, sitting in a tent, selling fireworks on the hottest day since 1928? If you think the answer is simply “making money,” just go ahead and slap yourself right in the face. No no, a real slap, right in the sweet spot. I wanna see red! The fact is, you have zero interest in those green pieces of paper with the little President faces on them. They do you no good whatsoever in and of themselves. What you’re after is an end goal that requires money to accomplish. You have a victory in your mind. Maybe it’s the purchase of a new laptop, or that high end video camera you’ve always wanted. Maybe you are tired of hitching rides and are after that elusive first car. Maybe you’ve caught your wife eyeing that way-too-expensive dress, and even though she will be “furious” with you for buying it, your love for her has brought you out here, in the heat, taking an entrepreneurial risk with the hope of earning just enough to make her year. Or maybe it’s something mundane, like paying the bills.

Regardless, visualize the reason you are facing down this project. Picture yourself browsing on that sweet new laptop, shooting the documentary of your dreams, or driving your very own piece of crap. Envision your wife yelling lovingly at you before emerging from the master bath more beautiful even than the day you married her. Remember back to when you were unemployed, and all you longed for was the opportunity to be slaving away for pennies on the dollar like you’re doing at this exact moment. Depending on your goals, you will either find your motivation… or you will realize you have better things to do with your life.

Step 2: Get The Ball Rolling

The hardest part is starting. If I take three hours to write an article, the first two and a half are spent twiddling my thumbs and whistling melody lines from Phantom of the Opera. Granted, more creative undertakings operate on a different paradigm than a somewhat mindlessly physical task, but the first step is almost always the hardest, regardless of context. For the perfectionists among us (I didn’t ask for a show of hands Billy), having a perfected plan is typically mandatory before we are willing to begin. Get over it. Trust me on this one. You will waste your life away planning without ever doing. I see it every day, and it is oh so sad. Draw up your plans and then go. Start. Begin. Initiate. Activate. Commence. Embark. Generate. Induce. Instigate. Introduce. Launch. Originate. Undertake. Sure, you will have to make adjustments along the way, but there is no potential scenario in which that is not already the case. You will never see into the corridors of opportunity until you start walking down the hall.

Step 3: Finish Strong

This final step has very little to do with conscious decision making. It’s a way of life. Either your very being accelerates into a sprint when you see the finish line, or it doesn’t. Some may simply maintain their speed; many will even slacken their pace when the telling glimmer of light appears at tunnel’s end, but an elect few will be unable to restrain themselves from hitting the turbo button and sprinting unabandoned towards the sun’s rays, glinting off the red ribbon of victory. Which are you? When I ran cross country in fifth grade, I could guarantee you two things: 1) I wasn’t going to be anywhere near the winner, and 2) I wasn’t going to have one ounce of energy left in me after I crossed the finish line. I may have been as slow as government policy, but by golly, I was going to sprint that last hundred meters like I was Eric Liddell in the Olympics… every single time. It’s an attitude, and like anything that’s caught rather than taught, it starts with being intentional. If you want it, you have to do it until it becomes who you are. You have to choose to pick up those tired legs and burn rubber until you can’t even fathom the thought of crossing that line with energy to spare.

So there it is: remind yourself “why,” get the ball rolling, and finish strong. If that doesn’t inspire you to be awesome, then this…

 

ronald-reagan-is-awesome

If this face was on money, you’d never spend any

Class dismissed.

 

 

Jacob McMillen

Jacob McMillen is a professional writer, preacher, and the chief editor of Uncompromised Men. In addition to throwing down sweet lines on manly topics, he enjoys writing about theology and will absolutely steal your dignity on the basketball court. Follow him on twitter @jmcmillen89... if you dare.

  • John Weiss

    Some of us like deadlines. For me it provides the opportunity to implement my time management skills. These three steps you have given provide a great overview of “getting stuff done”. There is also the practical side. Here is what works for me on a day when there is a lot to be done.
    1. Wake up early.
    2. Make a list of things that need to be done in the day.
    3. Take the hardest task and knockout it out right away.
    Boom! You just started your day off with success. The rest of your days work will seem more enjoyable. The hard stuff is out of the way. Let the good times roll.

    • Jacob McMillen

      For sure. I’ve been trying to implement the “wake up early” for some time now. The day feels so much better when you are productive early on.

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