I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. Deadlines are easy to despise. I bet you can list dozens of reasons you detest them without breaking a sweat. I was not a fan until I understood the secret powers inherent in well-crafted, targeted completion dates. Now I am a convert, and I am becoming a firm believer in tight deadlines.
Call me crazy, but seeing a finish line and a checkered flag gets me moving. It’s even better when I combine an element of competition. Who doesn’t enjoy bragging rights and the thrill of winning? Setting clear, defined objectives with milestones and endings is exciting and provides a source of inspiration, ideas, and possibilities. It gives me purpose. My personal goals up the ante for my motivation. These are the promises I make to myself and seldom share with anyone else. They rise to the top of my priority list, and I work diligently to meet those drop-dead dates. Who wants to look in the mirror and admit failure? Not me.
Success does not come without a cost. I can’t commit to every opportunity. Choosing one activity often means I must say no to others. It’s painful in the short term. I would love to binge-watch the latest Netflix release, but it doesn’t feed my sense of accomplishment. It only creates nasty feelings of guilt. Winning, finishing early, is a reward that keeps on giving. I celebrate a job well done, and my accomplishment fuels my desire to start the next project.
The absolute best aspect of deadlines is they give me a specific place to stop. Time’s up, step away from your keyboard. As a perfectionist, I could tweak, rearrange, adjust, and spend hours running down fascinating rabbit holes with nothing to show for it. Deadlines force me to release insignificant minutia and focus on the key elements. They compel me to decide and move on.
But every well-conceived deadline needs a buffer for the unexpected. You never know when you might be sidelined by a fever and head lice.
Do you work with deadlines?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer