Monday, March 4, 2013

Coping Strategies For Deadlines

There's a reason why some people call me "last-minute Mulligan."  One year when I was working on my taxes I requested two extensions before hiring a tax accountant just prior to the final deadline.  He worked overtime to get my taxes filed without penalties.  When he showed me his log filled with thousands of customers, I was his last client for the tax year.

My next book was originally scheduled for release on March 17.  I will be releasing the first chapter on that day even though there are still chapters to complete.  If you find yourself stressed out due to challenging deadlines in your life, here are some coping strategies to minimize your discomfort:
  1. Stop treating deadlines as enemies.  They are there to help move you along without too much wandering.  Make friends with your deadlines.  Use them as tools to keep your inbox from getting too overcrowded.
  2. Tell your inner self you are great at handling deadlines.  Your brain listens to your self-talk and responds.  The more you tell yourself you are improving with your ability to handle deadlines, the more your brain reacts.
  3. Ask for help.  My wife is a great organizer.  She organizes our filing systems so I can access important information without wasting any time.
  4. Focus on your priorities.  Last year I made a decision to stay on top of the most important things in my life.  I gave my boss a schedule of all my son's wrestling matches and requested those days off before the season started.  I kept great records of my moving expenses during my move to Iowa.
  5. Block time for important tasks.  For me, this means going to my writing cave for hours at a time when my family is at work or school.  I don't let anything else distract me.  That means keeping my cell phone on vibrate and in another room.  
I'm celebrating my first year of getting a tax refund before the end of February.  There were hurdles, like the government's last-minute changes to the tax forms that slowed the process down.  I applied the five steps above to complete my taxes well ahead of the April 15th deadline.  My two college kids rejoiced that their financial aid forms were already sent off.  And I find myself more relaxed than ever.

Now it's time to finish my book and share it with you.  I'm locking myself in the cave for the next two days off from my day job to work on The Caveman in the Mirror.  Don't forget to check back on March 17th to read the first chapter.

Editor's note:  Today's blog was completed with one minute to spare on my 8:08 AM deadline.  How ironic!

No comments: