Personal Productivity

Hack Your Deadlines with Headlines

Change the way you think
wrote this on March 11, 2013
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Deadlines…We fear them, ignore them, stress about them and work our butts off to meet them.  It doesn’t matter what our disposition is towards them, succeeding in meeting them is always a matter that concerns calculations, determination and having the right approach. That’s why I’m going to share with you today how to hack your deadlines with a simple twist of your tongue.

We previously discussed motivation and how to calculate your projects and tasks so they’ll fit into a tight deadline.  Yet, we never quite talked about the right approach to get the <“dead”> out of the <“line”>, and for me, the right approach always includes fun.

That’s why every time I have a deadline, project or a daunting task for that matter; I give it a catchy slogan.   I adorn my deadlines with a headline.  Yup, that’s my hack. Being a marketer has taught me that when I make work fun, I get above average results and a taste for more.

Why you ask? Language affects our ability to get things done. Our brain is wired to constantly look for new rewards in the patterns surrounding us. By adapting a new and fun name to a task, we give our brain a new pattern to focus on and new possible rewards to gain.  Call it cortex romancing J.  Our brain “enjoys” it even though we know deep inside that it’s a ruse.

Still wondering why you should hack your deadlines with a headlines?

Well, our brain assimilates behaviors and adjusts itself so we’ll be able to reap as many rewards as possible. As long as we perceive the task or project as beneficial and fun, we’ll develop a set of adaptive behaviors tricking our brain to enjoy it.

Or in other words: If you want to increase the chances you’ll finish something on time, make it fun…“Gamify”.

Hack Your Deadlines with language

So hack your deadlines by giving them names that you know will make you smile, laugh, or simply associate it with something you like.  If there’s a book you love, give your deadlines names that will remind you of the book.  The corniest example I can think of right now is the “holy grail…” or “The golden fleece”.

I’ll just leave you with the following advice:

Remember… give it a name that will help you connect it to a fuzzy feeling.  In my experience the funnier it is; the better.

I have an example from last Monday; I had a deadline for a task that could have a financial impact for me and my company.  I called Monday’s ever important deadline – Money-day J (Not Monday, Money-day: taken from the Malcolm in the Middle, a show that I liked when I was younger).   The work was the same work, and the task of course had to get done.  But every time I thought about it, instead of over stressing, I smiled a bit because it was funny, and reminded me of Malcolm in the Middle.    Of course, I still worried and wanted to get it done, but when you smile, the worrying just isn’t that bad.

Try to hack your deadlines with headlines, let me know what you think… Until next time.

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