This is the second in a two-part article by Career Actually contributor Peter Luscombe. Read Part 1 here.

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Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

Japanese Proverb

To make change you do indeed need a vision – be sight-ful as well as insightful. You do need to recognize the possibilities. Then, you need to act – set matters in motion.

Visualize your long-term goals to paint your short-term action on the canvas of now.

Terri Guillemets

The most common advice is to make an Action Plan. Look at what needs to be done, at the time-line and map out the steps you need to complete the task. Breaking a task down into steps can make matters more manageable and help you progress. However, while this works for some, not for others. Creating your own conditions, and expectations, for your self is a slightly different approach. In this case, you place yourself firmly in the driver’s seat, so to speak. The act of imposition, which sets up a series of habits of resistance in many, becomes one of being proactive and active. The task, for instance, which could be seen as a pain in the neck, so to speak, becomes do-able on your own terms.

Insight: Habits can be our way of resisting change.

Deadlines give us the sense that we are really on our way and that we will achieve the goal – soon!

John Patrick Hickey, ‘On The Journey To Achievement’

With Hickey’s advice in mind, then focus on yourself, bear in mind the stressors you face, the possibilities as well and take control. Here are some handy hints which might help you to meet deadlines:

Create the time pressure

Work out your own time-table, schedule, rather than feel imposed upon by another’s. Make this a regular practice and the habit of feeling rushed to meet a deadline, the resistance inside yourself, will lessen. A new habit will have evolved. After all, as Duhigg’s research has shown, habits are in the main unthinking behaviour, so create a new habit by simply being consciously in control. Navigate your own way.

Compass Concept

Compass points

North – Navigate for yourself

East – Establish your commitment

South – Set your goals

West – Work mindfully.

All comes back to North.

Map out your work

Again, this may well involve time; carving out your productive time. Maybe you work in smaller sprints? Certainly, you don’t want to do a marathon. Such is energy draining and reinforces the habit of reluctance and resistance. If you want to change habits, then most certainly you don’t need to set up conflicts within yourself, yes?

Mapping out your work also involves knowing your strengths. If ever you want to change a habit then work to your strengths; to the positives. As discussed in my post – Work Habits – Insights to Innovate –

[link?] to build a new habit stack it on an existing one. Consolidate, build upon, what you already can do and do.

Consider an Action Plan. Such works for many. Set goals along the way – and rewards – acknowledgment of achievement. A sense of progress is vital. Dr Amabile, author of – The Progress Principle – clearly states that a worker’s ‘inner work life’ is energized when they feel they are making progress.


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

If it’s simple, then you can more easily do it. That speaks with everyday common-sense, yes?

To change a habit – perhaps with the aim of better meeting deadlines – then keep it simple. After the examination, the mapping, whatever else you undertake, don’t over complicate matters. Keep the to-do-list in broad strokes for other tasks on a day or even not have one for that few hours you commit to meeting that step you set yourself to meet the deadline. Clear the deck – your surroundings – of distractions and other considerations.

Additionally, make the work process as simple as possible. Finish a step in a task, as best you can in the moment, before you review. Going over and over again a ‘section’ of a task will only prove draining. The task is there – it won’t go away. No thought will simply slip between your fingers, so to speak. Proceed and progress. Jumping about from one task to another, over-reviewing, is a habit that doesn’t work in anyone’s best interests. In that way, you are over complicating matters. Simply keep it – simple.

Simplicity can become a habit that benefits!

A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.

Rita Mae Brown

How true in ways?