Things they didn't teach you

Create your own deadline

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Create your own deadlines

Have you ever had the thought, if only I was at this point last week. Time is perpetual, at some point in time Now arrives and Now becomes history. Your job is to make sure that you are working ahead of time and never at the point of Now, because now is the time to have handed something completed by.

Some jobs in life are reactive, things kick in when events happen, these form some of the most dynamic, interesting and also stressful jobs. Often referred to as front line jobs. There is a skill set to working in such environments.

In your peaceful world of study you do not want to be in that head space of being triggered for action. One of the most effective ways of dealing with just in time or the common variant of out of time working is to build in deadlines to your task list ahead of the actual deadline.

Simple in theory but here is the problem, procrastination kicks in and you end up leveraging into the buffer zone. Using the buffer zone as free coins to spend at the casino.

One to add to your rule list. Never break a deadline. This is not a nice to have this a definitive mandate to stick to the rules.

How much time should I give myself

A buffer is only useful when you have a good idea on how long something will take to complete and the consequence of not completing the task on time i.e its importance. A 5 minute task does not need a buffer of one week. But a 5 minute task will take more time than 5 minutes so maybe you should just go ahead and do it.

Setting deadlines for your goals and projects is important and with the added focus you spend on planning when the task will be completed by adds the procrastinating killing focus you need to help get it done.

It is of no surprise people have a problem keeping to the self imposed deadlines than those that carry the consequence of deadlines set by others. Example teacher deadline, boss deadline, parent deadline etc. One strategy to apply here is to make commitments on record and appraise your ability to meet your own deadlines. This is a learned skill that may take many years but when perfected will equip you with a very valuable asset in life.

I am a big fan of the 1980’s sitcom ‘Family Ties’. Alex P Keaton played by Michael J Fox was in some ways the role model I wanted to be. Alex, the stocks and shares following teenager, always focused and driven. When he committed to doing something what ever the personal cost he would pursue it. There are people immensely driven in life, everything is possible as long as you commit value to what you have to do. When you start to play moving commitments it’s a slippery slope that usually ends in one direction, down.

Top tip, watch out for talking yourself out of meeting your own self imposed deadline and over time if you stick with the game plan you will build that inner strength to plough on and deliver.

The power of Rewards

When you get older the reward for doing something on time may simply be, to keep your job. Putting that bleak reality aside, rewards are great. We are all working for some purpose, in study land the goal is achieve a good grade and move on to the next level until you hang up your bag and call time to your academic life and start work or travel or other pursuits.

As a child the greatest reward maybe screen time, you tube time and not so fashionable now radio time. I forget the other old school activity of leaving the house and meeting up with friends. This is the external reward tool box that must be used to great effect.

So why not create a simple sheet of deliverables for the weeks, share it with your parent or guardian and negotiate against each one rewards. I guarantee that if you present this level of self control and discipline to any parent or guardian they will elevate your chances of being the next captain of industry up a few notches. Building your gravitas of being in control up a few notches.

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