“I’ll get to it later” – the famous last words that inevitably result in projects or priorities getting kicked to the sidelines, both in our personal and professional lives. We live in a world of distractions, each competing for a sliver of mindshare. So how do you confront the issue head-on and stay focused on achieving your goals?
It might seem obvious, but deadlines are often a missing ingredient required to succeed. The strategic planning and management process is perceived as a competing priority to any organization’s day-to-day operations. It’s the reason we stress the importance of S.M.A.R.T. goals in planning, with special emphasis on the “T,” which stands for Time Bound.
Time Bound is what makes the strategic management process possible. Here are four reasons time-bound deadlines matter:
- They make you prioritize your activities – Knowing what is due by when helps keep you focused on the tasks that matter, whether they be long-term objectives or your day-to-day activities.
- They keep things realistic – Deadlines will keep your expectations in check. Without a set time frame, you might set an expectation that reaches beyond what is realistically obtainable.
- It requires you to think deeper – When creating a goal or project, setting a deadline requires you to think deeper about what it is going to take to meet that deadline. It’ll help you answer the “who, why, and how” long before you would without one.
- It holds you [and your team] accountable – The pressure that comes with others relying on you is one of the strongest motivators. Having others that hold your feet to the fire keeps you on-task.
Setting and meeting your deadlines is a cornerstone in achieving your strategic goals. Without them, you [and your team] could follow a wavering path that doesn’t lead to the outcome you’re seeking. Keep your strategic management process time bound to ensure its success.