We dread them so much… deadlines. We feel the pressure, we get anxious. They make us feel under the gun. We hate them, and we shouldn’t, deadlines are our friends. I was thinking about it this morning on my prayer walk. I was at a retreat for pastors who are new to their churches over the weekend and we were all asked the question, “What has been the biggest adjustment in your transition?” For me that answer was easy. I’ve been a pastor before, dealt with people before, none of that stuff is really new. No, for me the thing that is really new is this is the first time in my life that ministry has been my main source of income and the only thing I have to work on. Before this, ministry had to be fit in around the edges of my other job, now it is my “job.”
I was contemplating this answer this morning as I walked and started to think about the deadlines in my former life and how I don’t have them now. When I was editing a magazine, there were times of immense pressure around the release of the magazine. Over all I liked the job, but if I’m being honest, I don’t miss those days even a little bit. I started to think I don’t have deadlines anymore but then it hit me, I really do. Every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. is a deadline, so are special services and speaking engagements. I have to be done and ready to go by the time I step up to the pulpit. It’s the same, but it doesn’t feel that way. What’s changed? I now look forward the deadline. You should too. Deadlines are your friend.
Think about it. How often do you as a creative, endlessly tweak something trying to reach some self-imposed perfection? How often do you put things off because you’re stuck? How often do you procrastinate or struggle with creative block? Deadlines help with all those things. The deadline is the time when the dream must become reality. It’s the time when you take what you’re creating and bring it to it’s intended purpose: to be shared with the world. It forces you to do the work. It forces you to stop staring at the blank page or screen or whatever and to start the project. It forces you to stop thinking about what you don’t have and starting to work with what you do, while also securing the resources and help that you need. Deadlines make us work. Without deadlines we probably would never get anything done. So keep your deadlines and if there is no deadline on a project, you’d be wise to set one.
Remember the whole purpose of creating is to share our creations with the world. Set a deadline, get it done and ship it.
Deadlines are our friends!