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Productivity / Time management tips

Being accountable: Setting deadlines

Why is the builder’s house half built? Why does the mechanic’s car need a service? Or in my case, why hasn’t the copywriter’s website been refreshed for… well, a long time. It's all about being accountable and setting deadlines.

By

And it’s time I did something about it. I hope you’ll be able to help.

Let me explain…

For a lot of people, including me, nothing happens quickly unless there’s a real deadline to meet.

For example, if a client of mine says “anytime this month is fine” then the job won’t get finished until the end of the month. Whereas when they say “I need it this week” then sure enough, it gets done and dusted by Friday.

I think a lot of soloists work in this slightly haphazard way without setting deadlines, and it can become a major source of stress.

One sure-fire way to stop a project dragging on unnecessarily is by setting deadlines and promising someone that you’ll have the task finished at a certain time:

– Tell your client that their job will be delivered by Tuesday at 11am
– Book a meeting to present your new proposal at 3pm on Friday

"For a lot of people, including me, nothing happens quickly unless there’s a real deadline to meet."

Such self-imposed deadlines are not just useful for business. If you keep meaning to do some exercise, arrange to pick up a friend at 7am for a run. Unless you’re going to leave them standing on the corner, you’ll be there.

It’s all about being accountable. The fear of letting someone down, other than yourself, is a big motivator. It only takes a minute. Make the commitment and it’s as good as done.

Want more articles like this? Check out the time management tips section.

So, here’s where I need your help…

Think of one important thing that you’d like to do in the next three weeks – work or leisure. Then make the commitment via an online comment. Start with the words “By 10am on the 24th of April I will have…”

To get things going, I’ve listed my own task. It’s a job I’ve been putting off for a whole year.

In my follow up article on being accountable and setting deadlines, I’ll follow up with a whip to see how we all went!

Got something that needs doing? Add a comment below and tell someone who cares.

 

Peter Crocker

looks after content at Flying Solo. As part of Business Copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He's the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited: How to go it alone in business.

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