This is in response to Thomas LaRock’s invitation for Meme Monday:
The strategy that works best for is to break the tasks involved into as much detail as possible…so that it makes the final deadline seem far less threatening. I try not to ponder too much on the final product, but work the detail diligently and try to make progress that way. As a child my father always gave us the example of ants building an anthill – each of them does its job of carrying little pieces of mud/rock, they do not waste time contemplating the big end product. But finally it gets done. I begin with the end in mind, as the saying goes, but like to forget the end until it actually gets close and focus on the detail.
I also attempt not to commit to unrealistic deadlines or set such deadlines for myself. This is something I have learnt the hard way..being a very detail oriented type A person I have set several unrealistic deadlines for myself, and learnt the hard way that they are not doable. There are two issues with setting a realistic deadline – one is having a hard conversation on how much I can do. If my deadline is to attempt a certification, say, how many hours of study can I do? At the end of a long working day, with all home chores done, realistically, am lucky if I do an hour of focused study. If I get too optimistic and make it two I usually wind up getting stressed around finding the two hours and not doing any at all!! (For work goals it is more around scheduling all the other tasks and explaining honestly to my boss – sometimes he takes something off my plate to help me find more time). The second thing is how much I can do in the given time. In one hour of study time I can probably read a chapter of a book really well..or a portion of the chapter, depending on complexity of the book. Some of this depends on intuitive feel, some of it is plain common sense. So with a good combination of how much i can do and what i can do i can arrive at a good estimate. After that it is just being disciplined and diligent about it. There is nothing better than the good feeling that comes with getting to one’s deadline on time, and having the task done well..that feeling itself is a great motivator.