• Cesar

On Deadlines

My productivity is erratic. Some days I get my main tasks done in a few hours and other days I waste a whole day without finishing any of my tasks. I want to explore the idea of giving myself deadlines.

Up to this point, most of the deadlines in my life have been given to me by other people in order to do things that I almost never really cared about doing. 99% of the homework in school, I never wanted to do. I especially never wanted to do any of the essays that were assigned to me. I only did them because I wanted to have good grades. Of course, it's through these same homework assignments that I learned so much about any subject, including writing. My ability to write any of these blog posts is largely due to all the writing practice I had with the hundreds of writing assignments I turned in throughout my school years. If given the choice, I would have rather spent my time playing video games...but, I was given the choice. The consequences to my grades that came from blowing off an assignment are what made it seem like I didn't have a choice. Even in college when I decided to worry less about my academic performance, I still could not allow myself to miss turning in an assignment. Regardless of the effort, I put into each assignment, in the short term I was always driven to complete assignments because of the approaching deadlines. I was incentivized to follow these deadlines because I wanted to take the easiest path to graduate school. No matter what I turned in, it would always be easier to pass a class if I turned things in by when they were due. The result was that I would continue to learn more each semester, even as I tried to minimize the attention I would give to courses that I didn't care about.

Today I have the choice to focus my attention on whatever I want, but there are days when I know I am not learning or improving on the skills I have chosen. Tasks seem to have the ability to just keep running away from me day after day. The obvious fix here is setting deadlines for myself. Daily deadline, weekly deadlines, monthly deadlines, etc. In all honesty, this fix was not something that was completely clear to me until I sat down to write this.

I have tried giving myself deadlines in the past, however, these deadlines had no consequences. I would simply say that I was going to get A and B done that day, and that was the end of my mental process. Wait that's a lie... a month ago my roommate and I tried to hold each other accountable for completing our daily tasks by setting a $5 charge for any task that was not completed. Neither of us followed up on the other, and this soon became just another forgotten idea written on our whiteboard. I know we weren't too far off from finding a method that worked with this idea. The weak point of the $5 idea was us. We weren't dependable in enforcing the rules.

So then, I need somebody or something dependable to hold me accountable. I think it's time for me to try a 3rd party website such as Stickk. Stickk will allow me to set a $ amount charge on my card for each time I miss a deadline. I'll write another post on the effectiveness of this method in the future. If I don't write another blog post on this, it means I never tested this method and I should be banned from the internet for taking up space with a piece of writing that led to no good.

About Cesar

Cesar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in business. After college, he moved to LA to work for a startup. He later... Read More


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