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TB#48: From the Chamber of Gurus to the Tick of Deadlines

2023-11-25

The modern life is pretty much a mess (personally, I blame TikTok).

With a few clicks of a mouse, you have access to fake gurus selling half-baked truths. You get more celebrity gossip than real news. And what are real news anyway these days? Who’s telling the truth anymore?

It’s just chaos if you try to tune in to everything.

So the least you can try to do is stay true to yourself.

But even that’s difficult!

And it’s especially difficult if you happen to be in a position where you get to (or have to) make your own plans and timelines…because deadlines have a cold way of telling the truth about what’s really going on.

That’s what I have had the luxury of doing. I’ve created my own focus and productivity systems that just work.

Hell, I’ve even sold them for a hefty price!

So I must have it all under control.

Right?

So I thought…until the truth once again hit me:

IT’S ALL FALLING APART.

Remember Matrix? The movie? Neo lived in a simulated reality. In a carefully constructed lie. It’s easy to live in our own constructed truths, in a false sense of “I got this”, isn’t it?

I have been living in a “more theory at the expense of action” world for the past months.

Ever found yourself in a similar situation?

Be honest now…

Deadlines as the Ultimate Truth Serum

Deadlines are the red pill.

They tell you the truth about things.

And when you find yourself next time panicking over a deadline, with a mountain of work ahead of you before it…

Just stop.

And reflect on what led to it: if any of that mess you find yourself in could have been avoided somehow.

Now, even if you learn what caused it, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.

Because it just might!

We’re all humans. We make mistakes. And sometimes we fail to learn from them. Actually quite often, ha.

But still, better to know than not.

Maybe, just maybe, this time the lesson sticks.

  • Write down what you could have done differently
  • If you work with a team, organize a meeting after the deadline to discuss best practices to get things done earlier next time
  • Encourage people, including yourself, to take accountability (unless you’re one of those crazy ones who just love micro-managing…)

Peak performance exists only in self-help books.

We can always improve something, at the very minimum: standards.

But standards also deteriorate without constant attention.

Hence, there’s no peak.

The peak is a myth.

Screw the peak!

And all this gets doubly interesting when you’re working on your side business.

There’s nobody to give you deadlines. Except you. And the deadlines you give yourself are just too easy to move. Open calendar, drag and drop.

Takes 8 seconds.

Here’s what I suggest: Publicly state your deadlines.

Forget the “as made famous by money twitter” strategy of disappearing for 6 months.

It’s literally, exactly as dumb as it sounds.

It’s just that people like dumb shit these days.

Don’t disappear.

Instead, set yourself a hard deadline.

And scream it from the top of a mountain.

I guarantee you, you will feel the pressure to perform.

And perhaps, just perhaps, you will manage to call out your own bullshit this way!

Harsh.

Harsh but functional.

It’s a Friendly Universe out There

I’ve never seen a person who does not get better with focused efforts toward a goal.

The universe is extremely kind, I think. It gives to those who want something.

It’s just sometimes hard to see because this doesn’t happen fast.

Also, I’m not going to deny it, sometimes the universe can be a real bitch.

Stuff happens you don’t deserve. Even serious stuff.

But for the great majority of us, there’s nothing serious going on right now.

So, now it’s the time to grind and ask.

Ask what?

Whatever you want. The way to ask is to work with patience toward a well-defined goal.

And the universe will do its job.

It’ll give.

Recap of The Box this Week:

  • Use deadlines to understand more about yourself
  • Make self-imposed deadlines public
  • Learn from your failures

About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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