A countdown counts time backward from a starting point down to zero. Countdowns can be used for many things: A rocket launch, the start of a race, a pie in the oven. Some sports have countdown clocks, like the “shot clock” in basketball to ensure the game proceeds at a lively pace. A “sell-by” date on food packaging is a kind of countdown.

The pressure to complete something within a timeframe can create anxiety, but it can also improve productivity. Sometimes work tends to expand to fill the time allotted for it. Setting a deadline or countdown can help you prioritize work, improve focus, and help you deliver on time.

Without a deadline, it’s possible to continue working and iterating on a project, tweaking and re-tweaking it so much that you never launch it at all.

Do you have a project or team that is foundering? Something that’s stalled and needs to be re-energized? Could a deadline or countdown help you get back on track?

See also: Clock, Calendar, Cycle, Project dependencies.


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