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Productivity / Time management tips

Business accountability: Set deadlines!

Forget “New Year’s resolutions”. What about “This Year’s resolutions”? I’d like to suggest a short and simple exercise which will use the proven power of business accountability to help you set deadlines and achieve something extremely important.

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I posed the same challenge in a previous article on Being accountable: Setting deadlines earlier in the year. The concept is that for many people, including me, nothing happens quickly unless there is a specific deadline to meet.

For example, if I say to a client, “I’ll get started next week” the project is guaranteed to drag, whereas if I say “I’ll finish your project by 10am Tuesday” then that’s when it will be done.

The simple fact of telling someone that you will have a task done by a certain time changes everything. The difference is business accountability. The fact that I will let someone else down unless I act is a very powerful motivator and sure-fire cure for procrastination.

Once you’ve set deadlines and made the commitment, it’s as good as done. Therefore your challenge is to think of one important project in your business or personal life that would make a big difference to you if it was completed before the end of this year.

"The simple fact of telling someone that you will have a task done by a certain time changes everything."

Then set deadlines and make the commitment to do it via an online comment. Start with the words “By 10am on the 11th of December I will have…”

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

To get things going, I’ve listed my own task, something I’ve let slip for years. In my newsletter on the morning of 11th of December I’ll be back with a pointy stick and smiley stickers to see how we all went.

Last time, some 50 readers took the business accountability challenge and made commitments to update 8 websites, reorganise 3 offices, create 4 business plans, finish several sets of accounts, complete 4 paintings, launch 1 blog, organise 1 sub-division, implement 1 marketing plan, make 1 baby book, have 1 week off, make a 5-year plan and much more.

I’m sure we can beat that. Got something that needs doing? 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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