in Business, Creativity, Marketing, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Science

Arbitrary Deadlines – How I Use Them To Prevent Overthinking

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” — Vince Lombardi

It’s great that we want things to be just so. But often we get caught in the endless wheel of research and overthinking that we fail to take action.

How do we deal with this? Well, here’s what I do: I set an arbitrary deadline.

For example, when I started writing I decided that I wanted to start off by writing 1 short piece a day beginning in January 2014.

I figured that preparing at least 1 weeks worth of writing in advance would be needed. If I couldn’t write or research 1 piece for 7 out of those 31 days, then I’d be lagging behind. If nothing got in the way, then I’d be 1 week ahead come Febraury.

Even though January worked out fine inevitably life happened, and February wasn’t as productive as I wished it had been.

Now, I could’ve determined more realistically that it might be good to have 2 weeks of work done in advance. Perhaps 1 month would’ve been better. Hell, to be absolutely sure, why not 3 months?

Thinking Man

Head = Spinning beach ball of death.

You see where I’m going with this?

I could’ve postponed it indefinitely just to make sure that I had all my ducks in a row and that I was absolutely not going to fail.

Well, I failed on the second leg of the journey. But I learned something from it. I had to create a system that no amount of research and thinking could’ve predicted.

It only came from experiencing my particular set of hurdles.

I’m not saying that you should just jump in head first when the pool might be empty, but you don’t have to spend 2 years researching it either.

The single best way is to set clear limits on the basic information you need to get started. You might want to limit yourself to:

  1. Three months of research while keeping your day job/studying.
  2. Asking 20 questions on Quora.Reading 5 books on the subject.
  3. Sending out emails asking for advice from 100 people related to your business.
  4. Watch 15 minutes of YouTube videos on the subject during your commute or when you get home. (Note: Set an alarm so that you don’t overdo the “Meanwhile In Russia”-videos.)

You get the point. Once you’ve reached the deadline it’s either time to suit up and go for it or choose not to.

If you choose to go for it, don’t stop educating yourself. Even after you’ve started you can keep learning in parallel.

You’ll yield better results if you combine the information you’re getting from your real life experience with the knowledge you gain from research, books, mentors, advisors, etc.


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