Create a Better Life: Day 37: Content Creation: The Power of Deadlines and Promises

Posted: May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized
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createbetterThere are a lot of creatives who view deadlines as the enemy of creativity. Those people are wrong. Now please understand, I am a big proponent of the concept that no one works best under pressure and that is merely an excuse for procrastination but there needs to be an end point—a time when the project must be done.

Take this project for example. I set an arbitrary deadline of 48 days at the very beginning. I set this deadline in part because I was influenced by Dan Miller from 48 Days to the Work You Love. Also as providence would have it this sets my deadline at May 30, the end of a month and Sunday the 31 (the 49th day, a full seven weeks) would ordinarily be a day of rest. It worked out beautifully. To be really honest, I have thoroughly enjoyed this project andI am beginning to see a wonderful resource coming out of it. That being said, there were days where I was less than inspired and days where the direction was less than clear. (I’m sure those who’ve followed this from the beginning have picked up on that. If you haven’t followed from the beginning, you can catch up here.) I also have a habit of picking things apart and tweaking them endlessly. This project would probably never see completion were it not for one thing, May 30 is coming. That got me up and pushed e to my keyboard each day. Deadlines can help us to get it done and keep us on task. They really are our friends. Also they help us to avoid waiting for capricious inspiration, and help us to chase it and hunt it down.

Deadlines really are your friend. If you have a project you want to complete, set a deadline and don’t stray from it. If your project is huge, you may even want to set sub deadlines, to help you stay focused on track and on task. Once you have established your deadline, mark it on your calendar ad take steps daily to reach it.

There is also tremendous power in promises. Not wanting to let someone down can be a tremendous incentive to stay on task. It’s a big part of the reason I decided to share this project all the way through the process. If you remember in the very beginning, I promised a daily post and for the most part I have stuck to that. I did this for two very important reasons. First I really did want to share the whole process I felt it would be instructive to see the starts and false started and directional shifts and all those other things that happen in bringing a new project to the world. Secondly though, I did it because envisioning you waiting for the next post has kept me on track. Once again inspiration becomes a factor.

Days one through 20 were a breeze, but here on day 37 it’s a bit harder to come up with topics. I have not exhausted this topic by a long shot. To tell the truth, I already have two more projects in mind when this one completes, but knowing I promised content kept me working to discover those topics and get them posted. There were a couple days in here, where the only reason I put in the effort to post was because I knew someone would be looking for the information. (It’s called accountability, and I thank you for being mine.)

Hopefully by now you are working on your own project. Have you set a deadline? It doesn’t have to be 48 days. A small project might be a 48 hour deadline while a huge one might be a year. The trick is to know the time you have available and to set a date that will push you to stay on task while not making you miss too much of the stuff that makes life better. You also don’t want to make it so stringent that you give up or buckle under the pressure. Who have you promised this project? Is there anyone who could help you to be accountable? Someone who will notice if you start to slack off or give up? Maybe you’ll share your process and progress like I did, or maybe you just need a friend to keep you on task.

Promise yourself a better life and set a date to start living it. The sooner, the better.

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