WARNING: Plan Now, Natural Deadlines Ahead

If there is no deadline, it is not real.

Four months left in 2021. How is the year going for you? Are you pleased with where you are and where you’re going? What’s left to do?

  • The first day of fall is 15 days away (September 22).
  • Thanksgiving is 79 days away.
  • Christmas is 109 days away.
  • New Year’s Day is 116 days away.

Deadlines can be scary, especially if you didn’t set the deadline yourself.  Then again, this is a goal or deadline you don’t have to set…you just have to meet it whether you’re ready or not. In reality, deadlines should be reassuring and bolster confidence. The problem is not the deadline, you see. The problem generally arises with our planning and preparation, not to mention the procrastination.

Holidays aren’t a surprise. They come at the same time every year, but most of us fail to plan well for them. Let’s change that.

While there is one-third of the year left, we are entering traditionally one of the busier seasons. Holidays, sports activities, travel, lots of cooking, family, and shopping. Retailers will make or break their years in the last quarter. People will decide about moving jobs, and the two biggest family events of the year — Thanksgiving and Christmas — are coming up.

What can you control? You may not be able to determine who comes to your house for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but there are things within your purview. Start with the date — let’s say Christmas — December 25. If you’re like us, you don’t know who all is coming yet. But, you can probably answer these questions:

  • How many people do we need to shop for this Christmas?
  • What price limits do we have for each person? What’s the overall budget for spending and divide by the number of people you’re shopping for?
  • Can we make some gifts? What supplies will we need to do that?
  • Do we want to have a party at work or at home?
  • What can I get off my plate before December 1 to eliminate stress?
  • What can we do to get ahead on your Christmas card planning?

You can also do a review of your Christmas decorations, so you aren’t stressed when you take them out and remember you threw away that broken strand of lights for the big tree last year.

As you plan for the rest of the year, what do you need to get done? You have some natural deadlines already on the calendar. What other deadlines — or goals — do you need to add?

Then, simply work backwards from that date and set some mile markers, which are checkpoints along your route. Sounds easy, but we all know the days are counting down. We can put it off, but time never misses a deadline. Unfortunately, all too often, we take Mark Twain’s advice: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow just as well.”

What can you do today to help you be ready for the deadlines in your life for the rest of 2021? One thing you can do today? Then, do one thing tomorrow. Let’s do this!

Because…the deadline is real.

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