There are a lot of different feelings that pop up when you hear the word DEADLINE. Sometimes they are productive feelings, like the little hamster in your think wheel on crack because he’s so excited to get things done! But more often than not, there is a sense of urgency or dread that can sometimes be crippling.
Ive experienced both scenarios in varying forms over the years. I get a lot more dread when I have deadlines piled on top of each other. Some I’ve set for myself, and some are from outside sources. Either way, when I miss a deadline, I might as well miss my kid’s solo at the school play – it hurts that much.
Over the past year I had a metric crap ton of deadlines pile on top of me. I got to a point where I was almost nonfunctioning because these deadlines (90% of them writing related) were too much to handle.
But I didn’t want to quit- I mean, I did want to quit and live on an island with no wifi, but I want to do that all the time anyway- so I gave myself a morning to figure it out. Here’s the list I made for myself:
1. Prioritize: by due date, and by importance. (I’m not going to give you cute examples because I’m guessing you have a brain in your head.)
2. Organize your time. Plan specific times and days to work on things and give yourself some wiggle room.
3. Evaluate. If the prioritization and organization leave you feeling like you’ll have to give up sleep, food, and reading (good writers never stop reading) then it’s time to say NO to some projects and ask for extensions on others. There’s no shame in saying, “I am a very organized person who values my sanity and if you want a good product from me then I need more time,” even if you’re lying about the organization part and you’re saying it to yourself in a mirror.
4. Plan rewards. For each deadline, have a corolating reward. (Again, no examples. You know what you like, and if you don’t, you need more help than you can find on a blog).
That’s it folks. My four step plan to fame, fortune, happiness and significant weight gain- I reward with chocolate and expensive restaurants that use real butter. Maybe you have a better plan? Would love to hear it. Especially if it involves weight loss.