aDaptation, discipline and deadlines

By Kim Browne

It’s not the things you can see coming that give you the most grief. Take for instance the sorry saga of my ankle. I didn’t injure it doing something “extreme” such as running on trails or portaging with a canoe over rough terrain. It really wasn’t that exciting at all, I simply stepped into a great big hole, in plain sight, right in front of me (if I had been looking) and thereby managed to tear all three ligaments in my ankle.

With weekly physio and rehab, an ankle brace for six months and no running for the foreseeable future, I need to change my immediate plans and adapt to these new circumstances, with discipline.

Now I can complain about this (why me, why now?), get angry, blame, resist, ignore my new reality (it hasn’t really happened to me) and/or fight it. I know I’m guilty of doing most of the above.

But, I also have the choice to just accept it, evaluate the damage, re-plan the immediate future and just get on with it. This definitely feels like the easiest, most efficient way of going forward. On reflection, I should have skipped all the rest and just done this!

People often say “things happen for a reason”. I think in this case “even if the reason is your stupidity” applies. Get over it, move on. Next chapter already.

If only things were so simple and we could forget about “the process” and just get on and “do it”. We could save ourselves so much anticipated angst.

Everyone has a bad day, some even have more than most. But it’s the people who go looking to find a reason why it is a bad day that we need to guard against. They suck you dry and waste precious time bemoaning what they have to do, what the can’t do, what they don’t want to do … and that’s more dangerous to a business than any real obstacle you can see.

So, as we enter the last quarter of the year, I intend focussing on not sweating the small stuff, adapting to whatever reality brings, being disciplined about getting things done on time and sticking to deadlines. I’ve drawn a line in the sand!

If you look long and hard enough, there’ll always be a good reason to be late, not do something or moan, moan, moan about everything or anything that isn’t right – blah, blah, blah. Ultimately, in my book this just indicates a lack of respect. It’s often arrogance reflected in a belief that my situation is more important than valuing your time. So you must wait for me and accept my excuses.

Perfectionism in the extreme (it’s just never good enough for some people), is a great reason to never get something finished. Putting a hard deadline in place and sticking to it is difficult and takes full commitment. It doesn’t make you popular, but it does get things done.

In a digital world things no longer HAVE to be finished. They can always be fixed later. This can lead to a lack of discipline and non-compliance to deadlines, which leads to work not being shipped in time, unhappy clients, general frustration all round and ultimately cash flow pressure.

Having spent 20 years involved in the  publishing of magazines gives us an edge in the digital world. The discipline of deadlines is hot-wired into our DNA. I simply can’t function efficiently and effectively without it. It may seem inflexible and old fashioned to some, but in the end it gets the work out on time. It’s how we need to roll!