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Tether your Important Balloons

"I need deadlines to function. It's like the last minute is my "on" switch."

Sound like you? As long as you can handle the stress and your sleep or relationships are not negatively affected, doing things last minute can be effective.

But what happens when there's something important to do that doesn't have a deadline???

You know, those truly important things that would enrich your life, propel you forward, and express your values?


IBNUs - Important But Not Urgent tasks (which, let's face it, are mostly multi-step complex projects rather than one-off tasks) are like helium balloons. You know, like that bunch you once bought and forgot to tie down in the back of the car, so you lost them before you even walked in the door?! (oh wait, that was me!)

With a brain that thrives on urgency and deadlines, your IBNU balloons need to be tethered to a receptacle of time, or they will float away while you spend your day in fire-fighting mode. This means giving yourself a deadline.

I know this isn’t easy when, most of the time, you are riding by the seat of your pants and have so many things that have to happen RIGHT NOW!

Tether your IBNUs

That's why you may need to cement these deadlines with external accountability.

  • Find an accountability partner, let them know what you want to do and when you want to do it by and have them check back with you.

  • Body double with a friend or spouse. Sometimes, just having someone else in the room doing their own thing can help.

  • Join one of the numerous co-working communities available or have a 1:1 Zoom work date with someone.

What other suggestions do you have? I'd love to hear. Share them with me in the comments.

Because, attending to some IBNUs (like self-nourishment, doing a personal project, learning something new or having a hobby) actually saves you time in the long run, by energizing and motivating you for all those other fiery important and urgent things.

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