For me, deadlines are essential. You know how much work I would get done without them? Practically zero. I don’t know about you, but I can find almost anything to do other than what I should be doing. My sister once called herself “Master Procrastinator,” but if she is the Master Procrastinator, I’m the Procrastinator’s mother.
This is obviously a terrible affliction to have as a freelance writer.
Luckily enough, my clients give me deadlines. Obviously, no one wants to wait 3 months for an article!
That is all well and good for my paid work, but what about the work I do for myself? Things that do not have immediate rewards, like this blog or the books I am writing?
Since I don’t want my life to be “too bad, so sad” I have to give myself deadlines.
Today, I am writing all of the Wednesday posts for this month. That is a deadline I gave myself. I put it on my to-do list and everything. Somehow, having it written down makes me more likely to do it.
I give myself a deadline for every day of the week. Usually, weekdays are full of paid work. The weekends are time for me to develop my future earnings and establish myself as who I want to be. I do not want to be stuck working for other people forever, so I have to carve out the time to do that.
Obviously, I cannot build myself up in one day, nor can I accomplish everything at once. That is where deadlines are beneficial to me. Let’s say I have the goal of writing a children’s book (which I do). It is not going to write itself.
In fact, I have hardly written anything in that book for about 2 years now. Why? Mostly because I haven’t given myself any deadlines. One year, I gave myself the deadline of sending a story into a magazine every week one summer. I was able to do that without too much trouble. Did any of my stories get published that summer? No. But I met my deadlines and I felt good about my progress. I certainly wouldn’t have had anything published if I hadn’t put myself out there!
For me, deadlines are essential to doing what I want to do in life. Otherwise, I would spend all day watching re-runs on TV and wishing I was in a better place. Deadlines move me from passively watching my life go by to an active participant steering it in the direction I want to do.
Do you work better with deadlines? Why or why not?