How much pressure can you take? Self-imposed vs. real deadlines

Sad businesswoman

Let me ask you a question. How are you feeling right now as you read this post? Are you feeling the pressure of a million and one things to get done? Most of us are. Now let me ask you, how many of these things have deadlines that are self-imposed? Many or most are. Yes some are set by external forces, agreed delivery time for a client, stock to be delivered and so on. But the steps that we need to take in order to achieve these deadlines are in in our control.

What I mean by this is that sometimes we get into a habit of taking too much on. Losing sight of priorities and saying yes to too many things. This results in losing focus, increased pressure to complete additional tasks and often missing deadlines.

So what can you do?

Priorities. Be clear on your priorities. What is essential and urgent for you to complete. Think both big and small picture here, meaning look at the long-term deadline and break it down into smaller milestone deadlines that you need to stick to.

Focus. Time and time again, I read in countless articles about traits of successful people, and one common theme is that they stay focused and not allowing themselves to get distracted. With this in mind, it’s about staying focused on your priorities, every day. When something comes across your desk, don’t just accept it that it needs to be done then or at all (by you or can it be delegated?) – question it. Take a moment and ask yourself where does this sit in my list of priorities. If it doesn’t fit, then drop it. If it is important then allocate the time that you think it deserves.

No. This is a word that many of us struggle to say – to say no to people when they ask us to do something. We often feel obliged to say yes to whatever comes our way but it is important to have the courage to know when it is not appropriate for us and saying no.

False Pressure. We put deadlines on tasks so that get them done – this is good, however I would like to challenge that there are times that we stick to deadlines that aren’t important and forget to stick to the important deadlines rather than the ones that we self-imposed.

In short, be aware, stay focused and keep on top of your priorities when it comes to managing your deadlines. Remember that some pressure can be good to keep us going but too much can be bad, sometimes even paralyzing ourselves.


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A number of you have taken up my offer of a free 45 minute discovery call – some have become clients others we stay connected in a network, one I am even doing a project together with them – so open yourself to see where this can take you. Do you find you are under too much pressure from self-imposed deadlines then let’s have a chat and create some strategies to make a change. Click here to book. This is a real coaching session, not a sales pitch.

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