Imagine that during a normal week, you set goals and deadlines that assume you’ll be able to do, say, 10 units of creative work. And that, during a normal week, you actually get 4 units of creative work done.
Imagine that during light weeks, you set goals and deadlines that you’ll be able to do, say, 6 units of creative work. And that, during those light weeks, you actually get 4 units of creative work done.
Under this scenario, it’s easy to see that the goals and deadlines aren’t doing anything besides stressing you out. Set all the deadlines and goals you want, but it’s the 4 units of creative work that matters.
Let’s call those 4 units of creative work your red line. When it comes to getting stuff done, it’s the only line that really matters. Those goals and deadlines just become the tools of judgment you use to condemn yourself and worry needlessly.
Now, let’s bring this to the real world: do you know what your red line is? Or are you assessing your effectiveness based upon some abstract plan that assumes you can get 10 units of creative work done when, in fact, you can only do four?
When we’re honest with ourselves, most of us lose a lot of time, energy, and attention because our performance didn’t track the plan instead of trying to make the plan track our performance.
Build from the red line, not the deadline. (Click to tweet – thanks!)