From the Desk of Paul:

Productivity-Killer #4 - There are start times, but no deadlines or end times for important tasks. As a result, the needed sense of urgency is lacking.

Take a minute to reflect on your recent “most important tasks” lists.  Consider how well you got started on those tasks.  Most of us do a pretty good job getting started; however, finishing is a different thing altogether.  Personally, I’m an 80% guy, meaning, I can get many big tasks started, but by the time I’ve got them to 80% complete, I’m inclined to move on to the next big task.  I’ve had to intentionally surround myself with finishers so that I can use my passion and skills to get some momentum and then hand the task off to someone who is capable of of finishing it.  Now, the issue in any of these situations is when we fail to set deadlines for ourselves or others with those most important tasks.  With no deadline, there is seldom a sense of urgency and guess what happens – despite how important the task or outcome is, it gets put on the back burner in lieu of something else that is more urgent at the time.  That other thing may not be nearly as important, but because we failed to establish a deadline and lost any sense of urgency, the important task may take much longer to complete or remain incomplete forever! 

There is a very simple solution to all of this.  Now that you’ve learned to establish a plan for the day, help yourself to fill in your schedule on a daily basis by simply establishing a deadline for each important task that you find on your to-do list.  While establishing deadlines, consider the impact of completing each task.  If it will make a big difference in your organization, be more ambitious with your deadlines.  If the outcome won’t have a huge impact to the well-being of your organization, then give yourself more time on these tasks, but do establish a deadline that you can and will stick to. 

Paul Meadows,