The restriction of time allotted to an activity can help increase motivation and movement towards a goal. In addition, deadlines often help me better prioritize tasks and focus on the most important ones. For example, setting a goal of being a millionaire by 30 creates a higher sense of urgency than a goal of being a millionaire with no specific age. Without a time limit, it can be easy to pass on important tasks when there isn't a clear endpoint.
In my experience, here are some elements that are often necessary to effectively meet a deadline:
- Commitment - Needless to say, being committed to a deadline is important. In one of my assignments in another country, a common practice was to assign a new deadline when the existing one was missed. This resulted in about 90% of the deadlines being moved later during each weekly meeting. Unfortunately, deadlines were moved multiple times and were only occasionally met.
- Good planning - Know the steps that need to be done and scheduling them appropriately is a critical element to meeting a deadline. A missed step or reworking a step can sometimes add time to the plan.
- Access to necessary resources - Getting something complex done often requires more resources than a single individual and his knowledge. The ability to utilize the resources needed, when they are needed is a critical element.
- Excellent execution - Being fast and efficient at doing the tasks is a plus when working against a deadline.
While deadlines won't guarantee a successful outcome, they often offer the opportunity to check progress and, if needed, decide on a new direction to achieve the goal.For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
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