Create a deadline

Yesterday, I put approximately a dozen bags and boxes of stuff on the porch. We’d scheduled a donation pick-up for today, and so, if all goes well, by the end of the day all that stuff will be gone.

Now it is possible that I would have gone through my closet and disposed of the size 2 dresses (best to just bid that era goodbye…) without a deadline. It is possible I would have pulled the less-sentimental baby outfits and toys out of the storage boxes, and my daughter’s outgrown clothes out of her closet (no younger daughters to pass them on to!) and gotten those out the door too.

But…I probably wouldn’t have. By creating a deadline, I gave myself a nudge to get going on stuff.

I know that many of us are highly motivated by deadlines. So it seems pretty straightforward to create a deadline to nudge action.

Of course, we’re smart, and we know, on some level, what are fake deadlines. I can tell myself that I need to do X, Y, or Z by September 1st, but if life gets busy, that intention might get chucked.

But it’s often possible to create an external deadline — hence the scheduled donation pick-up. I haven’t gotten rid of everything that needs to go by any means (maybe I’ll schedule another pick-up in six months…) but it’s a start. One reason I created my Summer Reads book club is that it forced me to edit my novel manuscript so people can discuss it in September! An internal desire becomes an external deadline. And then stuff gets done.

Do you create deadlines for yourself?

9 thoughts on “Create a deadline

  1. Yes, I do this regularly though I’m not nearly as good at self-regulation/motivation in the summer. Sigh. I’ve been feeling like my brain/life/house is extremely scattered this week (because it is) – renovations! company coming! kids camps! – and I really should implement some of these deadlines. Gentle ones, mind you, but deadlines nonetheless.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Laura!

    1. @Elisabeth – thank you for reading! Yep, it’s always deadlines that force the issue. Got a lot of stuff scheduled today – the donation pick up, a furniture pick up, and a rug getting delivered! Woo hoo!

  2. We don’t have a cleaning service, and neither do my parents. We live about an hour and 15 minutes apart, so we see each other quite often, but not like, daily, of course. We have a running joke that we need to schedule visits to each other often enough to make sure we clean our houses. hahaha! Because if someone is coming to visit, well, we make sure to clean! 😉 I like the idea of having a deadline for things like home decluttering. I will have to ponder how I can create “fake” deadlines for some projects I want to get to around the house, too.

    1. @Grateful Kae – yep, inviting people over is a great way to force some cleaning and organizing…

    2. This is so ingrained in me from going up and that if someone is coming over I automatically feel the need to clean. It’s a great deadline and now occurs by natural association.

  3. Just did this for a book swap I’ve wanted to host since 2019. So end of sept it is and I told people because this obliger needs that so now it’s out in the universe!

  4. I’ve wanted to read and study some things for a volunteer teaching position I do in my church. In order to get to it I’ve set up a deadline to discuss the readings or watching the speech with a friend who is my co-teacher. This forces me to do it. 🙂

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