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Nothing Motivates Like a Deadline

I’ve read some good books on motivation. There are many theories on internal versus external motivation. The intrinsic value of a job well-done. There are ideas around reward systems and ownership. I have a few theories of my own. Of everything that I’ve read, there is one point that cannot be disputed or argued regardless of the theories employed. Nothing motivates like a deadline.

According to Aboutcom in psychology “Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is what causes us to act… ” A deadline causes action. It is the one critical motivator that causes you to act.

Why a deadline motivates.

A deadline isn’t subjective. It’s specific. This is the date that the project needs to be done. Now figure it out. I had a deadline of this weekend to finish writing my book and send it to the editor. At the beginning of last week I thought there was no way I was going to make that deadline. But because I had a deadline, my energies and focus were directed towards meeting that time frame.

The best type of deadline.

A deadline with accountability is the best type of deadline. Even if you’re not reporting to a boss, for those of us that are self employed, tell someone your plans. I told a few people my goal for completing my book, one of which was my husband.

When I shared my aggressive goal with him he initially just stared at me. He asked a few clarifying questions, like was I crazy. (He didn’t actually say that, he just thought it).

He was skepitcal. Truth be told, so was I. However, because it was such an aggressive goal, I knew I would need the accountability to stay on track. Nothing motivates like a deadline with accountability. I made the deadline!

I believe a mix of internal/external rewards and project ownership are powerful motivators. The more connected you are with your project the better your motivation to work on it. However, regardless of internal/external rewards, or ownership, the bottom line is that the deadline is the key motivator. This is when it has to be done, period. And if not, something’s going to happen and it’s not going to be good.

What deadlines are you currently working to meet? Or what deadlines do you need to set for yourself? Who is holding you to it? Determine how you will arrange your time using a deadline as your key motivator to get it done!

Get more done, be held accountable and achieve your goals with a coach. Kaylene Mathews is the President and owner of KSMLifeCoaching LLC. She offers both personal and group coaching services as well as assessments and training workshops for individuals, groups and corporate teams in the DFW area.


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