Deadlines – pretty much the Marmite of the productivity world aren’t they? Deadlines are the thing you either love or hate .. or learn to love to hate …… and now that I am working by myself from home they are starting to be an issue I am pondering more.
You see – I am great with deadlines … its comes from being a Stage Manager .. whatever happens that show was opening on-time, on-budget and preferably without actually killing someone. Seven PM on opening night you had to be ready to go and there was no negotiation.
You didn’t hit your deadline – you pretty much never worked again!!
Deadlines motivate me – they keep me on task – they keep me moving forward ….. only on a big job (like the book on different applications of Mind Mapping that I am writing) the deadline seems like such a long way off that I was finding it hard to get the momentum rolling.
I have come to this conclusion:
Yup! I am going to have create some artificial deadlines other wise I will get dragged off course with all the busy-work that is also floating around.
And this book is a big deal to me – its with China’s second biggest publishing house and on the day they signed me .. they also let J K Rowlings contract lapse. Now the two things are totally not connected .. but the story I am going to tell evermore is that they signed me and dropped her … and I am only kidding somewhat LOL.
However .. distracted there .. yeah! Deadlines ………..
In a film they would refer to this as “creating mild peril” .. and point in the story where it becomes unsafe and the characters have to take some action to drive the story forward.
I am needing some of that in my life … a big snapping crocodile at my bahookie to keep me going .. and FAST!!
I’m going to need to play some “mind games” with myself in order to get that sense of urgency that propels every big project forward.
Funny – but I never used to think about deadlines in the previous role – probably because they were coming in so thick and fast that dealing with them was like playing a game of tennis with a hand grenade .. you never knew when one was going to drop and blow up in your face. Very stressful but ultimately very productive in the short term – of course .. then you burn out!.
I know that the work expands to fill the time available to it .. so if I have until June to finish this book I know sure as anything that I won’t feel any urgency about it till two weeks before hand ….. and frankly I am getting too old to be able to pull an all-nighter and still look presentable the next day.
So out with the planner – out with the coloured pens .. and I have now given myself two weeks to write, edit and illustrate the next chapter of the book … EEEEP!!!
It’s a short project – its almost on the edge of undoable (I kind of like that in a goal) and in two weeks I will know whether my little experiment in chunking down the big project into smaller, faster more productive segments work.
In the meantime my favourite tool to get productive is still my trusty kitchen timer – set that for 15 minutes and I can launch myself at any task and even if I don’t get finished I do get started.
So .. when you have a massive project ahead of you .. how do you get over the inertia at the beginning and get going .. and keep going .. and keep going …. and get done? I would really love some pointers XX