How to Get Things Done With No Deadline

I have an editing project that someone in my network has generously tagged me to work on for them. It’s in quite a raw form (not even an electronic copy) and will take more effort than simply marking it up. That isn’t the problem. My problem is a lack of a deadline. It is totally foreign to me to not have a deadline. Everything at work has a timetable attached, even if we are late already. The customer expects delivery and they expect it on time.

Without a goal, I historically, almost genetically, waffle my free time doing whatever I want to do most at the time. That generally consists of watching TV with my wife or playing computer games. Today I have come up with a plan for getting this done before my summer session college course begins.

  • I set a deadline for editing the text and getting it all in the correct order for the book to be the day before class starts. That is two weeks away, so it is not like I’m dropping everything, but can’t be considered to be a laid back goal.
  • I am substituting my alone free time’s activities to editing until I’m done. That should give me between  one and four hours per day to get started.
  • I will be giving myself motivating reminders such as not disappointing my clients and that there is a paycheck attached to delivery. Anything that motivates you is a good thing as long as you don’t lose any quality.
  • I am going to ask my wife to keep my accountable for my alone time to make sure I don’t revert back to my routine, as I am very much a creature of habit with a poor short-term memory. [now why did I come into this room?]

With these four decisions, I expect to meet and exceed expectations. How do you work without a deadline? Do you have a multi-year “Honey do” list that you just don’t get done? Try this and let me know how it works for you. [tags]motivation, project management[/tags]