Set the timer for your goals | Informed Inspiration

Set a deadline for your goals

It’s easy to dream and set goals, but there is always a price to pay in order to achieve them. One of the factors that determine the price we pay is setting a strategic timeline or deadline. For me, this simply means you have to be organized. You have to take time to clarify your goals. Know exactly what is required, and set a deadline to get it done or reviewed.

Contrary to the ‘negative’ connotation attached to having deadlines, it could be effective if done right and as part of a carefully planned and organized schedule. Make sure the deadline is realistic, don’t have too many deadlines at once, and don’t set your deadlines too far in the future.

Why deadlines are important

At any given time, most people usually have more than one goal they are working toward. Scheduling and setting deadlines allow you to prioritize and avoid focusing too much on one goal at the expense of another.

Also, leaving the timeline to complete a goal open-ended would usually result in a lot of time wasting and the possibility of quitting before the goal is achieved. When a goal has no set schedule to determine when you will work on it and a timeline of when you will complete it, it often results in paying a price that may not be worth it. Price such as sacrificing quality time with family and friends, and our health and well-being. If this happens, even though you may achieve the dream, you will likely derive very minimal enjoyment from it.

Don’t get into the perfection trap


This point is especially important for perfectionists. Setting a deadline for your goals and sticking to it helps you avoid the perfection trap. While it’s great to strive for excellence in all that you do, sometimes waiting for perfect outcomes, often results in doing nothing.

~ Margaret Atwood If I waited for perfection... I would never write a word.

When you set a deadline to at least review what you’ve done, you are able to make an assessment of the progress you have made and if you are headed in the right direction or not. This article on Forbes, calls perfection the enemy of done. This is true, at least for me, because I have wasted too much time in the past and getting nothing completed, just because I didn’t think it was perfect.

Since I started setting deadlines for my goals, I put myself under pressure to use the time wisely in creating an excellent piece, and then move on.

Setting deadlines can make goals more manageable and keep you motivated

I don’t really like using mouthwash because of the stingy feeling I get, but I also know that it is good for my oral health. So, I would try counting down in my head, but never made it to the 30 sec mark before spitting it out. I just couldn’t endure the ‘pain’ for the full duration, without knowing when it was going to end.

So I started setting a timer, and I have found that although the mouthwash is still as horrible as it was before, I am able to stick with it until the timer went off, and sometimes even a little longer.

When there is a deadline, your brain knows you only need to hang in there for a finite amount of time, and this makes it less challenging to stick with it. When there is no deadline, and you leave it open ended, there is a tendency to give in and give up before you achieve your goals.

I enjoyed reading this lifehack article on this topic.

I’ll like to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Great article. I am caught in that trap of setting goals but struggle with the deadline part. Or I set a deadline but it’s a bit too far away so hard to maintain the pace. Right now, I just want to learn how to set short term goals and deadlines that will help me achieve the long term goal. AND the discipline to stick to them. Ugh. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kelli. I am definitely still working on this process myself, but getting better day by day with making realistic schedules and sticking to it. It’s challenging, but with focus and commitment, it can be done. One of my favourite sayings is “Dream Big, Start Small, Act Now” and I add – Never give up, if you make mistakes, just get up, restrategize as needed and keep going.

  2. Setting deadlines for smaller attainable tasks that lead up to a bigger goal is a great way to accomplish your dreams. I love using my timer–I think it forces me to focus on the task at hand and keeps me from becoming distracted.

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