How Much Can You Get Done Before a Deadline?

focused Mar 11, 2022

Have you ever noticed how much you get done in the days or even hours before you leave for a trip? I'm leaving for a trip to Egypt and had several items on my To-Do list I needed to have done before I left. As the time grew closer to departure I kicked into gear and got it all done in time to pack and be ready a day early!  Now why couldn’t I do that on a regular basis?

I’ve noticed this when I’ve had unexpected company for dinner as well. A family member or old friend calls me unexpectedly at 3pm and is in town for the evening and wants to come over.   I can clean the house, tidy up the deck, have the table set and the food ready by 6pm.  There are times in my normal week, when nothing is urgent, and I can’t even get my dinner ready on time!

So I’ve asked myself, what is this phenomenon and why can’t I keep this up all the time?

As I look back now I see a pattern I have unconsciously fallen into of getting more done in the last day or two before I leave for a trip, have company coming over, etc. So why can’t someone (me for example) be that productive and energetic more of the time?

In thinking about this I realize that deadlines keep us accountable, especially those where we have to catch a plane, bus, make an appointment, etc. So how can we duplicate this into our everyday lives on a regular basis?

This is how I took that scenario and tried to incorporate it into more of my routine.

I started writing down all the shortcuts I used because I had to! When I have surprise company I get so focused and get things done faster from dear of them seeing my messy house I guess!

Write down what you do when you’re leaving for your next trip. Take notice of the productivity “shortcuts” you create for yourself. It happens right? When picking up for unannounced company ...I quickly put things on the counter into the stove…who would look there? Just make sure you’re not serving food, you’ll forget and cook your items. Trust me, I’ve done that!

If I'm really in a panic to clean up fast I put all extra items I don't have time to put away into a box and it goes out to the garage until company leaves. Strange I know, but it works!

Now for those trips, I've learned to use lists. Then I prioritize as I get closer to the deadline to leave. What HAS to be done, what can be done when I get back and what can I delegate? It's amazing what can get done. 

Create your own shortcut patterns and then work to incorporate them even when you don't have a solid deadline. I'm still working on that!



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