by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
This week, I’ve had more deadlines than I care to think about. I have project deadlines, personal deadlines, grading deadlines; I even have birthday shopping deadlines. As I write this, I feel pressured to finish quickly because I have even more deadlines.
So what do we do with all of these deadlines? How do we avoid getting sloppy because we’re in a rush? And most of all, how do we avoid old destructive habits that can make the deadline dilemma even worse.
I’m a list maker. Lists help me keep my sanity and sort out my life, and I particularly like the granddaddy list maker of all time: Micro-Soft One Note. OneNote is part of the Office 2007 package, and it has become my all-time favorite organizational tool. It allows me to create new categories and store information in ways that work for me. But there are dozens of tools on the market that can help you with organization—the key is to find the one that works for you. And don’t negate old school: a pen and notebook can work as well as anything.
After you organize, setting priorities is a necessity. It goes beyond which chore is due first; it takes a hard look at goals. If career building is your main goal right now, those deadlines take center stage. If your ten year old has a championship soccer game . . . well, need I say more?
Although an afternoon at the golf course or a day at the spa may seem more appealing, avoiding the deadline will only make it worse. We can make monsters out of the simplest job just by delaying it. So while you’re making your list, set time limits.
And don’t forget the need for reward as an incentive. It might be as simple as a piece of chocolate or a walk around the block for small projects, or you may reward yourself with a golf game or spa day for the large ones.
As for me, I’m rewarding myself for finishing this blog by giving myself twenty minutes to walk in the woods with the dogs.
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