A client of mine has been working on developing a product for about three years. She’s had a lot of ups and downs along the way, but is finally close to actual production and sales. It’s an exciting time. But she readily admits her difficulty in getting things done.
A few weeks ago she conducted a series of focus groups in an effort to get solid feedback from her target market. She knew she needed to do it, but she wanted to do it right and that required a lot of preparation. That led to procrastination, and procrastination will kill your progress.
The key to her success in the focus groups lies in having a great product and a firm deadline. The product was a result of years of work. The deadline was simply a forcing function to move her one step closer to launching.
A deadline forces execution. Planning is worthless if you never execute.
With the dates marked on the calendar, she was able to focus on specific actions. She had invitations to send and a presentation to prepare. She had to practice and promote. There were a million little things to be completed.
She had everything inside her to be successful. But it was one little thing that pushed her to completion: a deadline.
A good deadline will challenge you to perform. It should be aggressive enough that you can’t procrastinate, but realistic enough to not overwhelm. It will hold you accountable, and that accountability will be greater if you make it public.
What do you want to accomplish? Could the key to your success be as simple as a deadline?
Note: This article originally appeared in Aug 2010 issue of the Tri-City Review.