DEADLINE: A nasty word, but a good thing

alisandeJune 16, 2005

I spent yesterday at a seminar on managing multiple projects. I was hoping it would improve not only my work habits, but my home organization as well. I think it will.

One of their main points, stressed over and over at the seminar, is to assign a specific deadline to each project. Then it can be broken down, if necessary, into steps, each with a deadline of its own.

I thought about last week, when my replacement mattress and living room chair were scheduled to be delivered on Friday. A ton of stuff needed to be accomplished before the delivery, and I got it all done. I said afterward that it was amazing how much I could achieve if I knew it had to be done by a certain time. I had a deadline!

I don't know if artificial (arbitrary) deadlines would work just as well, but I'm going to give the matter some thought.


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I (too) often find the process of thinking through all of the steps for a given project does two things: 1) it cuts down a huge project from "overwhelming" to more manageable chunks; and 2) it helps me prep so things go more smoothly and things are done in the most efficient manner.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:24AM
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I create false deadlines (at home) for just that reason.

But I have to BELIEVE in that deadline; if I don't make it real (like invite somebody over), I won't honor it.

I'm supposed to be finishing up stuff in the kitchen, so I can have a "kitchen warming" party to show it off. But I haven't actually INVITED anybody for the party, so I'm not really working on the project.

So to me, the key word is "accountability," and the deadline is merely a component of that.

which of course makes me feel like I'm some irresponsible adolescent.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 11:42AM
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I'm the same way - I try to set "deadlines" for myself, but unless that deadline is based on a "consequence" of some sort, I rarely meet it. I joined a writing group for accountability and deadlines for my writing, I invite people over for dinner or just to chat to place deadlines on my cleaning/organizing, and I'm committing to a craft show this fall so I have an absolute deadline for the projects I want to crochet for that.

I do try to set deadlines for myself, but they often are "extended", at which point I feel lazy and weak-willed. Accountability is a good thing!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 1:36PM
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Inviting people over is a great way to push yourself to accomplish something. Even telling them: I'm having you over for lunch to help me get organized is an acceptable reason to my friends! Deadlines are great!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 11:43PM
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The only way I seem to ever get my house perfectly cleaned up is when I know company is coming. DH had mentioned inviting people over this weekend so I spotlessly cleaned the living room, kitchen and dining room today. I'm really slow so it took a good part of the day. I still have my bedroom and 2 bathrooms to do. Hopefully, I'll have the energy to do them tomorrow.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 11:58PM
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I'm with the rest of you - a deadline means nothing to me without consequences. I try to have people over at least every other week just to keep the first floor of the house clean. Well, also to keep in touch with my friends, of course.

It's just a shame that there's no reason for any of these friends to see the office.:)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 9:40AM
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Oh, yes---the threat (real or imagined) of someone coming over is always a motivator for me. My husband likes to periodically spring an invitation on me. It is his gentle nudge to get me moving when the house is a huge wreck. He does give me a week or two's notice though! And I have to admit, sometimes my bedroom suffers from the 'cleaning' because all the odds and ends end up in tubs and shoved in my room!


    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 3:23PM
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Reading your posts, I wish I were a lot closer to the point of being able to invite people over. At the moment I have no furniture in my living room, and my dining table is a work surface for painting shelves. :-(

Maybe I'll start with the longer-term goal of having my kids here for Thanksgiving...? Then I can try to break this down into smaller goalsÂif I can figure out the time frames.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 12:55PM
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Deadlines would work much better for me. Long term, not so good as I am the procrastination queen. A week before the holiday I'd be wondering how to tackle it all.

Eons ago I read/posted on a frugal site. Someone suggested an email "loop" for those interested. Just more personal and it was great! We got to know each other and our own spending demons. Group encouragement was awesome and very powerful. I no longer belong but I no longer owe any money. I learned a lot of valuable lessons I will carry forever.

Now I'm thinking of inviting someone for dinner! EEEKKKKKKK! This thread is bad! ;)


    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 8:51PM
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We've always called this idea "throwing your hat over the fence." You know, if you need to get over a fence, throw your hat over it and then you'll HAVE to get over the darn thing! Inviting company is one of my favorite ways to get my house clean in a jiffy!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 10:25AM
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thanks, skatiero, I like the "throwing your hat over the fence" phrase. I'll put that in my "motivating comments" journal where I have phrases like "this won't take that long" and "it's not going to get any easier". Now it includes "throw your hat over the fence!". LOL.

I use the concept of arranging an appointment with a new contractor for one of the millions of things we need done on the house. I always try to get things looking halfway decent before he/she shows up. Our house is way too much chaos to consider inviting friends over. We always meet them somewhere else and tell them "we can't manage our lives" (and we all laugh and then have a nice evening somewhere else.)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:11PM
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Yes, having people over for a party works great for me too.

Set deadlines for myself today. Task X - done by 10:30am, task y done by 1pm. Tried hard, didn't even get task X done by 1:30. Should have been home by 5pm - had dentist and 1 stop at the store. This escalated into 4 stores. Oh well, better off than not diving into the tasks at all.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 8:41PM
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The last time I realy, really cleaned my house fully was for my husband's 40th birthday-a surprise party with close to 100 guests. I cleaned and cleaned for about two months before the date. It was perfect, except one chair had a little cat hair on it. And wouldn't you know my mother in law decided to sit there in her purple knit pants! By the way, DH turns 59 this October. Maybe I should start planning a 60th birthday party?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 3:33PM
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You know how you get to Christmas and always think "I wish I had another day" or "another week"?

What I do is give myself a deadline of a day (or three) before the actual event. That way I don't run out of time.

Most of the time it works. I had to do it becasue I would always get to the end of the race and would run out of time. And 'it would be perfect if I just had time for X". Now I try to factor in time for it.

I also need foot traffic to do justice to this place. I'm trying to change that and tell myself that *I* am worth cleaning for, not just guests.

My mileage varies to the extreme on that one.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 2:17PM
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