Creativity Tool Tuesday: The Power of Deadlines
Are you a procrastinator like me? Are you surprised to hear I’m a procrastinator? I do get a lot of work done and it’s in large part because I’ve learned how to make procrastination work for me. I make it work by setting deadlines for myself. If I have a deadline I still get to enjoy procrastinating up to the last minute until I need to deliver it to someone else. So my deadlines work something like this…
Let’s say that I want to start a new creative project, take my Wise Women Wednesday Series for example. It started with the idea that I wanted to highlight all of the amazing women I know and meet often. I know creative women that are up to amazing things and I find their stories inspirational and I feel strongly that what these women are up to needs to be shared with a larger community. Weekly seemed like an achievable goal mostly because I feel passionate about this series. Part of the key here is that it's not just an idea I had, it’s also something I do feel passionate about, so passionate I don't mind putting in the hard work of actually doing it each week. If I wasn’t passionate about it then it wouldn’t work (which is a great lesson for almost everything!). By setting myself a weekly goal I know I have a deadline that must be met. I’ve also publicized my goal simply by the nature of it being a blog post. Knowing that other people are looking forward to it makes me want to keep the promise I made to myself to do this work. The public, time bound accountability to others helps motivate me to keep my deadline.
This helps with my running goals as well. If I want to get back into normal running shape running at a certain speed and set amount of millage each week, I set a goal for a race about 3-4 months out. Then I work backwards breaking my goal down into achievable weekly steps. That takes the procrastination out of the equation altogether (kinda). I still might put my run for the day off to the last possible time slot I have to give it, but whatever works for you right?
Or currently I’m working on a book proposal for a self-help type book based on my year of travel. The goal, which I’m stating now, publicly is to have my shitty first draft done by the end of June so that I can start working on the better-revised second draft and have the second draft finished by the end of August.
Deadlines, even self-imposed deadlines keep me on track with my work; creative or otherwise.
I’m curious; do you set deadlines for yourself to achieve your creative work? Does it help? When is it a benefit and when is it a hindrance?
If these articles are helpful for you know a friend or family member who's trying to get their creative work off the ground and into the world please share this with them.
Now excuse me while I quit procrastinating and go hit the road for today's run.