how to give deadlines more power

I’ve written a couple of times about managing deadlines, but it’s a particularly important skill. If you want to accomplish anything, you need to set and adhere to deadlines in order to avoid Parkinson’s Law:

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

If you never set an end date, a date for completion, your work will ever-expand to fill all of your time.

Not only do I set deadlines for myself, I give them a lot of power over my psyche. And for the past year or so, I’ve been increasing that power using public declaration.

It’s simple: Any time I really want to accomplish something and be held accountable, I share that goal and timeline with someone else. Often, several someones.

For example, I wanted to get the website and marketing plan for Unreal Collective finished by Monday this week. Last week, I told a lot of people that applications would be open on Monday. I told friends, family, interested members, and perfect strangers on Anchor.

Just as I created a system of public expectation for new emails every morning at 7am, I created an expectation of launch for this Monday.

And it worked!

One of The Four Agreements is to be impeccable with your word – and I take that to heart. I am a man of my word. Therefore, when I make a public declaration, now I have to live up to that expectation.

I’ve baked this method into Unreal Collective. Every week, at the end of our call, you will self-declare action items to be completed for the following week. Then, that next week, we check in on those items to start the call. This system of accountability and support works.

If that sounds like something that would help you, let’s chat.


Hey, can I have your email address? I will only send you more articles like this one.