Time Management: 6 Reasons To Have Deadlines

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When I was 15, my sister, Lucy, older and wiser by seven years, said something that didn’t make sense to my teen brain:

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

More than forty years later, I recall how that statement confused me—but I get it now.

People with a lot to do already have momentum, vigor, and the systems and tools in place for efficient living. They’re the best candidates for handling a task, solving a problem, or assisting a person, team, or organization in achieving a new goal. 

And, busy people also have …


As many of you know, I lost 40+ pounds in 2012 and have kept it off—all by walking. Nothing fancy, just walking.

More here: “5 Lessons Learned When I Quit Making Excuses”

My fav distance is four miles, which takes me about 65 minutes, so just over 16 minutes per mile. Not super fast, but not a stroll either.

Last Saturday morn, I wanted to walk but also needed to leave our property (by car) at 9:30 a.m. sharp to pick up the newest QBQ! Grandchild—4 month old, Archie. Our son, Michael, and his wife, Casey, had a wedding to film so Karen and I were going to care for “the little man” all day.

As I headed out to walk, though, I realized I’d dawdled. It was now 8:30 and it’d be difficult to get 4 miles completed.


However, in Mile One, I noticed something: I was moving at a brisker pace than usual. As I completed Mile Two, my Map My Walk app sang, “Distance: 2 miles. Time: 30 minutes, 12 seconds.”

Huh, I thought, maybe I can get 4 miles in by 9:30.

Well, as I strode back into our driveway, my app spoke, “4 miles, 59:47.”

Now, don’t let me spin like a politician and turn this into a bigger deal than it was. It was just a walk. But, I was reminded of something:

Deadlines are good things.

Here are 6 reasons for having a deadline. A deadline …

  1. Gives me energy and momentum
  2. Forces me to think (and thinking is good)
  3. Enables me to use the finite resource of time (they call it “time management”) more effectively
  4. Makes me choose/set priorities
  5. Allows me to make personal accountability a core life value

And, #6 is a biggie:

Deadlines destroy what we call in the QBQ! book—”The Friend of Failure”:


Struggle with procrastination? Get some deadlines!

Now, I’m telling you why we need them, but only you can figure out how to bring them into your life.

Because, bottomline, there is no right way to do so.

So, since our readers have a ton of knowledge, how about sharing with us how you establish deadlines in your life?

Teach us your best practices!

But, set a deadline for leaving a comment or it’ll never get done! 🙂

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11 Responses

  1. Definitely agree… just putting in a self-imposed deadline helps create focus and energy for getting things done!

  2. The only deadlines I’ve ever really dealt effectively with were those mandated by the clock — the driving force in radio..whether a network program, a 30-second commercial that starts at 8:00 am…whatever. To me…the deadline is when something has to ‘start’ to be effective. So many times I slip into thinking a deadline is when the project, job, etc., is finished and I’m simply not motivated much by that.

    So using a deadline mentality of when something has to ‘start’…especially helps when it comes to making money or saving money — the sooner one starts either…the more income/savings.

  3. Funny you should mention this… just last week I had a blog piece I was suppose to write for a state wide news site. It wasn’t particularly time sensitive, but I’d been promising it for weeks. One day while talking to the editor I set my own deadline, and he promised to check back if he hadn’t received it. I beat the deadline by 2 days. It wasn’t just setting the deadline, it was also that I was accountable to someone else. That would be my best tip, be accountable to someone else, especially someone impacted by the deadline.

  4. John, as always – good stuff! I use my calendar on my iPhone to set appointments, with alerts, with myself to get things done. It allows me to plan out my day and feel a sense of accomplishment as I complete tasks. You can also do this in Outlook using the task function. This whole concept falls right into effective goal setting which relies on setting a specific time frame to achieve the goal.

  5. Thank you for your reminders and encouragement!
    Just early this morning I remembered a number of things I’ve been putting off so I set different alerts on my phone to get them done. When the alert went off I automatically was inclined to do it again. I had to keep reminding myself that this is why there are so many. Once I got them all done it seemed like a load was lifted off my shoulder and my day seemed brighter.

  6. Saying my deadline or commitment, whatever it may be, out loud, to another human being, is a major motivator for me. 🙂 I then want to PROVE that I can get it done, and even beat the deadline!

  7. I learned this lesson while attending Georgia Tech. I knew that I wanted to graduate at a certain time and started loading up on classes each quarter so I would reach that goal.

    The interesting part of what I learned, though, is that I got better grades when I was taking 18 credit hours than when I had a lighter load of, say, 15 hours. I knew that I didn’t have time to slack off!

    Thank you for the note!

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