How to Use Deadlines to Supercharge Your Productivity
When you face an externally enforced deadline, you usually put things off until the last moment and then get everything done in time. When you set deadlines for yourself, you can easily just change the deadline.
Here are the steps you can take to A) be as productive as you are in the last moments before a deadline approaches, more often and B) set your own deadlines and still manage to get that productivity boost.
Step 1: Set Deadlines & Write Them Down
Okay, this might seem too obvious, but it needs to be said: make setting deadlines for your projects part of your work habits. To get the productivity benefits from deadlines, it's not enough to just think "I'll get this done by X" to yourself. Write down your deadline and commit to it.
Details on how to do this are covered in the SMART goal section in this lesson.
Step 2: Short Deadlines & Milestones
As we know, we tend to get a productivity boost as the end of a deadline approaches. Fortunately, there's a simple hack you can apply, to get this productivity boost more frequently and also make yourself more likely to stick to the deadline you've set for yourself.
Step 3: Add Accountability
There are several things you can do to make self-imposed deadlines more "real" and they are all related to accountability.
Step 4: Reward Yourself for Meeting the Deadline
In the lesson about habits we already saw how important it is to have some kind of reward at the end of your desired behavior. This works well in combination with deadlines. A deadline is a clear end point at which you can assess whether you've achieved your goal or not. If you have, you can reward yourself to reinforce the habit of sticking to your own deadlines.