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Want to get things done? Stop thinking, start doing.

Nicola Peacocke

We all have goals that we want to achieve in our lives. These goals could be learning a new language, running a marathon, starting a business, becoming a freelancer, having a better work life balance, and so on.  But there is a point when you need to stop planning these goals and start working towards them.

It can be easy to assume that the gap between where we are now and where we want to be is caused by a lack of knowledge.  This is why we buy numerous books or attend online courses. We assume that if we knew a better strategy and all the right tools, then we would get better results.  We believe that a new result requires new knowledge.

‘Idea Debt’, a coined termed by Kazu Kibuishi, is when you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.

Just like credit card debt can build up each month, making it harder and harder to get back on top of your finances, Idea Debt is the same concept.  The more ideas that you accumulate and pictures you create in your mind, the more you feel daunted and bogged down by information overload.

Thinking about things over and over isn’t productive, it’s actually wasting time.


Take Action. Set a DEADLINE

It’s crucial to create deadlines for yourself to help you achieve your goals. Whatever your goal is, it’s important to set realistic deadlines for yourself. Deadlines help you streamline your work and keep you on track.

Open ended deadlines can end up with Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. A task always seems to take as much time as you have allocated! You will always find improvements to make, nothing will ever feel good enough, or you will leave it to the last minute.

Deadlines force you to think about what it will take to accomplish your goal.

When creating a deadline for yourself, it forces you to think about the steps that you need to go through to achieve it.  Work backwards from your end goal and think about the mini goals you can make along the way.  Visualising all the steps involved can help motivate you to start tackling each small step. A deadline is a promise to yourself. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Use the SMART method when setting goals.  If you stick to these steps, you will have something tangible to work for and a measure in place to know when you have reached your goal.

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Relevant

T = Time-bound

Deadlines help you prioritise what you’ll work on (and for how long).

There is nothing quite like a deadline to keep you focused and eliminate distractions and the desire to have a quick peek at Facebook or to sudden need to sort your drawers!  A self-imposed deadline will help keep you on task until it’s finished so that you can move on to other tasks later.

It’s also worth noting the distractions that do get in your way and what conditions create resistance. Recognising and addressing your own patterns can help prevent you from being derailed in the future. And remember, prioritising includes all the necessary tasks, not just what’s easy or enjoyable!

Deadlines push us.

I’m sure we can all remember nights we have stayed up trying to get papers written and projects finished.  If we didn’t have deadlines with consequences, we would never push ourselves.

Celebrate reaching your mini goals and share your successes.  Equally, think of what the consequence may be for missing a deadline.  It might mean someone else getting the business before you or missing out on the clients that you had been dreaming of.

It’s not always easy to know how long something will take and it’s easy to under estimate how long it will take to achieve something, especially when we come up against challenges along the way. Be realistic in your time frames. Give yourself some wriggle room to accommodate the unforeseen obstacles you come across.  If you set yourself too strict a programme, you risk missing deadlines, becoming despondent and giving up.

Get others involved to hold you accountable to your deadlines.

An important way to achieve important deadlines to have someone hold you accountable. Whether this is a trusted friend or a business coach, choose someone that will ask you the questions you may not want to be asked! Check in with your mentor regularly, updating your goals and tasks as needed. Getting others involved can drastically improve your chances of staying focused and having the motivation to carry on.

Remember that setting goals and deadlines for yourself is to help you reach the finishing line.  Don’t create a deadline if you don’t intend to achieve it.  If the date doesn’t matter, then it’s not really a deadline.



A Co-Pilot Advisor is the perfect person to have beside you.  They will help you to set your goals, create a workable plan to help you achieve them and be beside you to as you head for your destination.  Get in touch today.