Deadlines – Color Your Calendar to Find Time!

deadlines and time

Use color to manage your deadlines.

Deadlines. We all have them, and managing them can be a challenge – especially if you’ve got very tight, or intersecting, or competing deadlines.

Too often, deadlines create anxiety, stress, and rebelliousness. A looming deadline sends many people into a tailspin – the kind of state that makes denial and procrastination look like attractive alternatives.

But it doesn’t need to be that way.  There are ways to manage deadlines that are practical and that reduce stress.

Often these deadline-management strategies involve breaking your task into increments that are doable and completing them in a step-by-step process.

I recently came upon a very brief article on lifehacker that offered an intuitive and easily-actionable tip for helping you gently manage your deadlines by keeping them in your consciousness.

What the author suggests, in a nutshell, is color-coding your calendar to highlight deadlines, along with the days running up to them. So you start with the day the task or project becomes yours – and you highlight the days from that point to the day that it comes due.

This was intriguing to me because what it does, essentially, is to bring your future deadlines into your present by offering small-but-constant reminders. It keeps these tasks on the table, as it were. Your due date is in the flow of your present moment; and  you know that it is coming.

Most on-line, web-based calendars offer the potential to color-code items that you add. And if you use a paper calendar, you can easily use a highlighter or colored marker to create the same effect for yourself.

Here’s how the author, Dave Greenbaum, frames this idea in his lifehacker article:

The New York Times interviewed marketing professor Dilip Soman from the Rotman School Of Management at the University of Toronto. She explains how color-coding your tasks on your calendar might remind you to stop procrastinating:

Color can also influence the perception of time, she said. She and Professor Soman found that simply by coding a stretch of calendar days in the same color — say, blue — with an assignment occurring on the first “blue” day and the deadline set for the last “blue” day, people were more likely to complete the tasks. Once again, this serves to make the future deadline seem more like the present.

This is a practice that I am experimenting with, using my paper calendar.  And my VA is trying it in her Google Calendar.

As a way of expanding your repertoire for managing deadlines and reducing stress, it seems a useful tool.  Do you think you might give it a try?

And here’s another resource for your time success:  You can learn more about the gifts of energy, time and meaning that my unique, Heart-Based Time Management™ System offers.  To begin your transformational journey sign up for my FREE Finding Time Success Kit.

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