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« Doing It All Yourself...Or Not! | Ask the Expert: Leslie Josel »
Tuesday
Jul302013

Motivation & Deadlines

Have you ever experienced a surge in motivation when a deadline is looming? Sometimes we purposely wait until the last minute to finish (or start) projects because we need or want that adrenaline boost.

Each of us functions differently. Usually, my personal pattern and preference is to work regularly over an extended period of time and not feel rushed to complete things. I realize this isn’t always possible or desirable.

With two of my recent projects, motivation and deadlines influenced the process. One project was preparing for my first ICD board meeting as President-Elect. It involved reading several books, reports, and documents, completing forms, having several phone conversations, and reading and responding to emails. Even though I paced myself, some of the work ended up being completed close to the deadline. Delaying completion of last few items gave me the energy push that I needed.

My other project, the redesign of my office area, has been a long process. There has been dreaming, planning, sketching, discussing, and manufacturing. Finally, after many months, the installation will be soon (as in this week!) Months ago, I went through my files and drawers. I let go of things I no longer wanted, so that I’d be ready to reorganize what I did want when my new space was ready.

The next step was more challenging to complete. This involved emptying the drawers, surfaces, and space. I wanted the change, but not the discomfort and disruption that the transition would bring.

So I told myself, “Change is positive. Discomfort is temporary.” Last night my motivation kicked in. I boxed up my desk contents. In the process, I edited and released more things. With my positive focus, visions of “done” and working in a beautiful, organized workspace motivated me to forward.

How do deadlines influence your motivation? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.

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Reader Comments (10)

Love that you are experiencing what our clients feel and becoming aware of different motivations. For me motivation comes from pacing. With a great night's sleep, I know that I am most motivated in the morning. Most of my clients definitely benefit from the last minute push though!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

I'm with Ellen. My motivation comes from knowing the deadline and a need to have everything completed well in advance. I use backwards planning and set lots of mini-goals with their own due dates. Most of my clients, however, get motivated to work on a project as a deadline is looming.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Love how you point out how the discomfort of organizing is temporary. A great tip to motivate our clients and even myself as I tackle the school papers and keepsake box once again.
Happy for your new office!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

I love the reality that (even occasionally!) professional organizers can lack motivation and organization in their lives. Great point as Helena agreed, this is temporary. I am currently settling into my office from just moving, and it has been a work in progress. I keep telling myself "this is temporary" as I put on the final touches. I find it encouraging to clients as well. Good luck to you Linda with your office, I am sure it will be oh so wonderful!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Seavey

While I don't want to categorize myself as "last minute Charlie," I do confess to working at optimum productivity when my deadlines are closer to the wire. My urgency is heightened and my brain is super focused when under pressure. Back in college, while pressed for time, I was known for churning out a 10 page paper the night before and getting an A+! It comes down to really knowing who you are and what motivates you.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

love this post Linda! Unfortunately I am finding myself a last minute Charlie these days. Interestingly, it has allowed me to not be Oh so perfect. I've become somewhat of a believer that we use the time we have. So shortening my time allows me to work smarter and more productively.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

How great to "hear" all of your amazing voices! Thanks so much for enriching the conversation. Thank you also for your encouraging words about my "office to be."

@Ellen- Sleep is a big player. When we're exhausted it's hard to get motivated or energized to move forward. Appreciate that reminder.

@Diane- Enjoyed your phrasing of "backward planning." That's a great approach. Also interesting to note that our own way of working can often be the opposite of how our clients' prefer to work.

@Helena- Yes. "Temporary discomfort." While none of us enjoy it, we can certainly survive it.

@Rachel- Every one of us experiences organizing and motivational challenges (organizers too.) ... part of what it is to be human.

@Nancy- Love your description of how waiting until the last minute to complete deadlines makes your brain feel "super focused." As you said, what's most important is the understanding of how we work best.

@Leslie- Nice that you're letting go of that need for perfection. As a result your experienced increased productivity. Great bonus!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, once again a great post. I often find that I build a project up in my mind into something so much bigger & "badder" than it is. ( I also find this to be the case with many of my clients.) Usually, once a start, the project sails along much more smoothly than I had anticipated. The reminder of that fact is motivation for me -- to stop imagining & start creating.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Blinder

I am definitely not someone who does my best work when a deadline is looming! In university, I generally had my assignments completed - or at least started - way ahead of time, and it still annoys me that students who would ask for a last minute extension always got it, with no penalty. I seldom have the luxury of working on things ahead of time anymore, but I still prefer that to a last minute rush.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Great to have you with us to continue the conversation. You are awesome!

@Robin- Oh, yes...the "bigger and badder" syndrome. It can psyche us right into NOT doing, can't it? And then there's the reality that once we begin it's not so bad and actually quite fun. Love how you use that knowledge as your motivation booster.

@Janet- Isn't it interesting how we adapt? So while you prefer to NOT rush, the work you do has tight deadlines, which doesn't afford you the time to work at your preferred pace. It's fabulous that you've adjusted to what your business needs.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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