Our work-life always revolves around deadlines. The project to be completed by the end of this month, the report has to be emailed by the end of the day, the presentation has to be completed by noon today, and many more small or big deadlines hover around us. In other words, deadlines are the driving force in our workplace. Deadlines give us a sense of purpose that we have to complete the task within the stipulated time frame. While doing so at the end of the day, we feel productive and energised by the fact that we worked a lot and met the set deadlines. Deadlines give a sense of urgency which provides us with an illusion that we were productive.

Meeting those deadlines constantly keeps us on our toes, but what about those assignments where there is no deadline i.e., the assignments which are important but not urgent. The challenge with such kind of assignments is that the work gets dragged and we tend to lose our focus while accomplishing the task. Hence, we must find ways which will aid us to keep our focus in completing the assignment successfully.

‘Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant – Dr. Stephen R. Covey’

One of the measures that can help us is to create our deadline by dividing the task and assigning a tentative deadline to achieve it. The deadlines, such as giving a certain amount of time each day for the assignment or completing a specific section of assignment within a specified period can be used to break the given task in sections. The advantage that one gets here is that first the task is completed, and the assignment is one step closer to completion and the second advantage is that, as the assignment doesn’t have an official deadline one can always go back to the work done and make the required changes to improve it, thus giving a quality output.

One should be accountable about the task in hand and to do that, one can take help of a friend/s or colleague who will keep a check on it, when you have to report the progress to someone you tend to work towards achieving the task with more rigour. Your friend/s or colleague will guide you in keeping your commitment by calling out on you if the task you have committed to is not done correctly, hence making you accountable for it. That little push goes a long way in completing the task successfully.

It is difficult for most of us to work on things which don’t have a deadline. Most of us are addicted to urgency, which gives a revved-up feeling of doing things and checking them off. We have a pretense that we do our best work under pressure, but the truth of the matter is that we need the adrenalizing sense of urgency to keep us focussed because we can’t do it on our own. The downside of this idea is that even though we get the things done and within the time limit, the quality of the work suffers. It is imperative to rewire our brain and become more discerning and less reactive, which will help us to do justice to the assignments which are important but not urgent.