Dare to Live Without Limits

Bryan Golden

Reaching your goal is usually well worth the wait

You have goals. You have a detailed plan. You are proactive. You always take the initiative. Yet, the one aspect you have no control over is how long it takes to reach your objective. It seems as if just about everything takes longer to complete than anticipated and that things rarely proceed according to plan.
This is a normal phenomenon. We tend to be overly optimistic when estimating how long it will take to accomplish a task. The more enthusiastic we are about completing a task, the more ambitious our timeline. As much as you don’t want to wait for your desired results, there are external factors which delay exactly when that happens.
Projected completion dates often fail to account for unanticipated contingencies, human factors, procrastination, and distractions. Contingencies arise when a detour is necessary due to unexpected obstacles. Human factors such as exhaustion, frustration, lack of knowledge, and impatience extend the completion time. Procrastination delays the start of a project, while distractions reduce your efficiency.
Other factors which extend the time line include overestimating how much you can accomplish before the deadline, underestimating how much work is required, and oversimplifying what needs to be done.
Over commitments increase the potential for all of your tasks taking longer than planned. You waste time juggling projects, while reducing efficiency due to multitasking. Your focus is diluted as you continually switch between commitments.
Being active instead of productive, greatly extends your completion time. Activity is energy draining action which doesn’t get you closer to your objectives. Productivity is specific, deliberate movement toward your goals.
Doing something for the first time invariably requires more time than you anticipate. You must build into your time line the necessary learning curve. As a novice, you are prone to making more mistakes as you figure out the best, most efficient approach. The more complex the task, the greater the chance of underestimating the time required.
The greater the number of people required for accomplishing your objective, the more likely it is to take longer than planned because you don’t have control over the actions of others. One person falling behind schedule has a cascading effect on everyone else. This is why complex projects requiring lots of people often fall behind schedule.
Dealing with crises delays your completion date. Crises, whether unexpected, or due to poor planning, require an inordinate amount of time and energy. The more prepared you are, the fewer the emergencies you’ll have to deal with.
Although it’s virtually impossible to guarantee you’ll reach you objective exactly on schedule, there are strategies which will greatly improve the chances of being on time. Start with a clear, detailed understanding of all elements of your goal. Being confronted by one or more factors you didn’t realize were required throws your schedule way off. Time spent in preparation saves lots of time.
When embarking on a new path, seek advice from someone who is already where you want to be. Their experience saves you from making needless mistakes. There’s no need reinventing the wheel when you can learn from those who have already successfully made the journey.
Create a detailed plan which delineates each specific step required. Make each step small enough to be manageable. Allow time for the unexpected. Whenever possible, allow more time than you think is necessary.
Get started. Don’t procrastinate. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will be finished. Waiting until you are up against a deadline puts you in crisis mode, which causes undue stress. Giving yourself greater lead time provides extra breathing room for handling problems.
What you accomplish is more important than how much time was required. Never get disheartened if you have to wait longer than anticipated to achieve your goals.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2020 Bryan Golden


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