A Goal Without a Deadline is Nothing But a Dream

I was at a project management seminar a couple of weeks ago an heard the presenter say those words; they’ve been stuck in my head since. Its amazing how many things we have on our plates in our lives, be they personal or business. At times they all can be overwhelming. Personally, I look at my desk and see all the calls I have to make, projects I need to get started on, and sadly, things that just need to be put away. Then you get on to the personal life “stuff”; doctors appointments that need to be made, baths that need to be re-tiled, and a basement that needs to have its floor “re-discovered”. (I’ve started bringing a compass, survival kit and next-of-kin notification documents each time I venture into the basement, but that’s a story for another day).

What all of these unrelated, yet completely similar tasks have in common  is a lack of a deadline. I know they all need to be done, but it is definitely easier (at least for now) to put off the “when”.

I think the reason setting a deadline is difficult is because it involves making a commitment, and once there’s a commitment, there’s the opportunity to fail. Well, recognition is the first step! To steal a cliche’…You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

I know in the past couple of weeks I have been trying to set hard deadlines on my calender for getting a number of things done. I’ve also set up intermittent reminders so that I don’t get a surprise on December 15th when I discover I was supposed to have cleaned out my closet and taken all my old clothes to Goodwill by that morning. Building these goals as deadlines is allowing me to work on them a little at a time and know, that once I hit that date, they will be done and off my list.

I think a big part of setting timelines is prioritizing what needs to be done. In business, you have to look at where you want to be in say 6 months or a year and look at which things on your “to-do” list are essential to meeting that goal. Then… set a deadline for getting it done.  As the Sales and Marketing Director for SuccessWare21, there are some potential users who I have been speaking with for over 2 years(!). 2 years of conversations that start with the prospect telling me how much their company needs to make a change or how their current solution is hurting the business, but,  then the busy season is coming up or, we didn’t make enough money this quarter excuses are there, front and center. For these folks, the idea of a new way of running their business is nothing but a dream.

Making a commitment is not easy, but, knowing it will help to better your life, your business or the lives of those around you has to be taken into account when deciding to make the move to “set a date”.

Well, enough for today, I have a 3pm deadline to clean my desk.