For more than 100 years, my great-grandfather, grandfather, and father have never missed an important deadline—no matter the excuse. My dad has had cancer twice, and still hasn’t missed a deadline. If you want to be like them, keep reading…
You’re now probably wondering who their bosses have been. Or how on Earth they can be so self-disciplined. See, the men in my family are farmers. They don’t have a boss, per se, and they probably aren’t much more self-disciplined than you or me.
They are able to hit deadlines because of one woman. Or entity. Or spirit. Or being. Or… I don’t know. Her name is Mother Nature. I’m not sure if that’s politically correct. I should probably say “Parent Nature.” I’m not sure, but let’s stick with Mother Nature.
Farmers must follow the plan outlined by Mother Nature, or else they won’t make any money that year. Seriously. If they miss a single window of opportunity, that’s it for the year. With a consequence like that, a money-minded individual will never fail.
Mother Nature gives them a narrow window to plant their crops, a window to weed their crops, a window to water their crops, and a window to harvest their crops. It’s a chain that cannot be stopped.
I’ll do my best to explain how we can replicate Mother Nature in our own lives. After all, Mother Nature is what keeps these farmers on task. If we can create a Mother Nature-style routine in our own jobs, we too shall never miss a deadline. So how to emulate Mother Nature? Quite a task.
Systems. We need to put fail-safe systems in place in our own lives.
The way to do this is by creating patterned deadlines with major consequences.
For instance, I have a writer for one of my websites. Each Sunday, I send her a week’s worth of assignments. I know that if I don’t deliver those assignments, her writing schedule will get derailed. That cannot happen. So every Sunday, no matter what, I send her the list of assignments.
I have a friend who has a trick for keeping himself on schedule at work. He asked his boss for a weekly review. During the review, my friend has to demonstrate that he has accomplished all of his weekly tasks. He also told his boss that if that weekly meeting is to be canceled for any reason, he must still report via email. He never slacks, or else he gets a reprimand from his boss.
A lot of successful people do things this way. I’ve often heard successful people offer this advice: “Say yes and figure out how to do it later.” People will agree to a deal and then have to scramble to make the deadline. But you know what? They keep their word, accomplish the task, and make that deadline. If they don’t, they don’t get the money.
We can do more than we think we can, as long as there are consequences for not succeeding.
Since we can’t all have Mother Nature as our motivator, I think it’s important to create goals that must be completed, or else risk major consequences. For farmers, if they miss a deadline because they are feeling tired or having a tough week— they won’t raise a crop, and their family will do without. Big motivator
Ask yourself, what are the consequences for you not completing your work?
Put a system in place that keeps work flowing. If work doesn’t flow, you fail.