June 17: Set a Deadline

I admit it. I am a lister.

I create lists for everything.

  • task lists
  • to-do lists
  • grocery lists
  • project lists
  • wish lists
  • contact lists
  • activity lists
  • bulleted lists
  • see my point?

For me, they are easier to manage than random notes for things I need to take care of.  It offers organization and sense of order.  They help me prioritize the items that need my attention.

But they haven’t been working for me.

In business, I have made heavy use of Microsoft Project and Gantt charts to help define large scale projects, establish timelines, responsibilities, target start and completion dates, available resources as well as estimated deadlines.  These charts, commonly displayed as a task list, were essential to almost any project because it kept my engineering team and myself on task, on schedule and within budget.

So if these lists that I love and abide by so much in my professional life are working so fantastically, why aren’t they working for me in my personal life?

I have had lists in one way, shape or form for some time.  From using sticky notes, written notebooks and dedicated applications. Nothing was working.  I was using Evernote for my task lists and other miscellaneous lists.  It worked great, synchronized between web, computer and phone.  But the one feature it is lacking for a to-do list application is the feature that I needed the most.

The ability to set due dates and deadlines.

I had these great lists, things I need to do, items needing my attention.  However, without actively staring at sticky notes, opening my notebook or loading up Evernote every single day to check when things were due.

It was not until about a week ago when I started using a program called Wunderlist that I realized the error of my ways.  The program is awesome and I love it as a dedicated task management app.  You can create tasks, set due dates, set priority, everything.  It lets you know when items are due in the next 7 days, due today, or overdue.

I need deadlines.

Now with deadlines and alerts, tasks are getting knocked off my to-do list left and right and ahead of schedule.

Now it is your turn.

Take your to-do list, or create one if you don’t have one.  Prioritize it and add deadlines.

Look good?  Awesome.

Now take those deadlines and bump them up a day.  Agressive? Yes.  Out of the realm of possibility? Of course not.

Push yourself to get things accomplished.  Even the smallest, most mundane task.  Get it knocked out ahead of schedule.  It will energize you and boost your confidence and make taking care of the next item on the list, just that much easier.

Day 17. Way 17.  June 17: Set Deadlines. Knock tasks off that list.  Boost your confidence.

Do you use lists like I do?

What do you use to manage those lists?

How do you keep the deadlines that you set?

Let me know your methods or suggestions in the comments below!

hourglass photo / clock face photo

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  • Jacs_13

    I do create lists- grocery lists, packing lists, Christmas present lists, and at work and at home I have to-do lists.  I thrive on deadlines.  Sometimes I’ll do stuff and after im done i’ll put it on my to-do list just to cross it off! I’m that much of a geek.  Seeing what I have accomplished, and putting that line through the task gives me a bit of a rush. I get excited when I see a deadline date coming and I’ll stay up all night if I have to, to complete my projects.  No matter if it is at work or home a plain old notebook and pen is how I manage my lists no matter how large this way I can have all my lists in the same book and I can see my accomplishments over and over! (Losssser) I can also carry my lists around in my purse all the time! Clearly I do not own a Blackberry or an Iphone…obviously! I’m a little old school when it comes to that. I think its because I like the crossing out part! I love it! You’re finished this post already! Not even time to be awake! 

    • Jac – 

      Exactly!  You see that list grow, but you also see that list of crossed off things grow too.  It is such a great rush to know that you are only X amount from getting done with EVERYTHING.

      That is why I really love doing things like zero-ing out my inbox, or my google reader.  Gives me a great feeling of accomplishment and 9/10 times, they both happen on the same day.

      I love the physical list you carry, something physical in our digital lives.

  • Dana Flynn

    I also make lists. Long and short-term to do lists, achievement lists, lists of problems  (rating them important or useless), and of course my bucket list. I try and give myself deadlines but have a very hard time achieving them in my personal life. When I was working I would set deadlines for every part of a project which was helpful, and the same for school. But I find it hard to get motivated enough to knock ‘clean the bathroom today’ off my list. For me, there’s a big discrepancy between thinking about it and doing it. Good on you if you’ve found yourself a program that motivates you, though!

    • Dana – 

      That is the hard part, transitioning it from work/school to personal.  I hear you on the motivation aspect, and that has always been the hardest for me too, hence the deadlines.  For me, deadlines force me to do things.   It is hard to get motivated? Yeah, but I think that it is so important that everyone find what motivates them.  Why were you motivated for work, and motivated for school, but not motivated for your house/personal life?

      With me, I know I am not a fan of doing chores, but I know that i if I get going, get started, put some music on, I will crank through dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc, etc.  It steamrolls.  Just to see one item checked off, then another, and another.  It grows exponentially.

  • I have an idea. On your next list, I would suggest scanning it and posting it on your blog for more accountability! What do you think?

    • Matt – 

      Love the idea.  Definitely lookin towards getting the bucket list up online, past that, would definitely have to see if I have a comprehensive list that would warrant a blog post, but I really do love that idea.  With any goal, you have to be held accountable, I really do believe that.

  • I’m a list maker too and not always the best at meeting deadlines that I set for myself. This post has motivated me to try and get things done more efficiently. Thanks for the tips! =)

    • Glad you enjoyed it Laura – Sometimes I make too many lists, and as much as this blog post was written to help others, it was written to motivate me too!  Here is to knocking out those lists!