Deadlines Are Lifesavers

Deadlines send shivers down my spine.

Why?

It’s not the deadline itself. The finish line is where all the glory happens – and it’s time for celebration.

But if you have a deadline, you also have to start. And that’s the wriggle worthy part. Where the true discomfort lays ~

It’s the start-line

~ more than the dead-line.

The start-line is where procrastination frequently raises its head. And it’s a disappointing fact that procrastination can trump enthusiasm.

I’ve had a product that I’ve been contemplating for ages [insert: forever] but have creatively avoided its commencement since the idea first came to mind.

Starting is complex… but this week I did it :)

Image: art studio

Always a good sign when the vegemite jar for cleaning paint brushes is discoloured

So what brought this turnaround about?

Well first – Why is it that some things are so much harder to start than others?

Unless one’s going on a picnic (or holiday) the greater the perceived unpleasantness that the task (eg housework), project (eg work) or regime (eg diet, fitness) is likely to invoke, the more likely the task will be put off for another day –

But it’s all relative (and procrastination works in mysterious ways). I have a friend who’d clean the oven rather than start a Uni assignment – but without the Uni assignment, you wouldn’t have caught her dead cleaning!

The level and success of one’s creative avoidance tactics are relative to the anticipated discomfort (physical or emotional) that starting will ensue.

mock-up

Ideas, whilst cocooned in our heads are perfect in every detail. Our creative genius is sheltered from criticism. Once exposed to the real world, ideas must live up to the vulgarities of saleability and potential ridicule.

Keeping ideas tucked away in the annals of one’s brain, making only fleeting forays into the real world via words (aka ‘I’ve got this brilliant idea’) is the way many ideas like to remain ~ safe and untainted from the rigours of reality.

So starting work on a new untested product, even where there’s palpable excitement for its introduction into the market, is inevitably overshadowed by a flickering of fear.

“This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

“that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.”

W.H Murray

In Murray’s case it was putting down the money to book his sailing passage to Bombay from where the 1951 Scottish Himalayan expedition was to set out. With an immoveable date fixed on the calendar the commitment to meet the deadline was set in stone.

I’m unfailingly impressed by the commitment of Olympians to their training regimes. But it is the deadline of heats, the outcome of which determines whether they get funnelled through the rounds, which forces them to maintain momentum and so lead them triumphantly to the rostrum.

For me, it was setting an immoveable deadline (booking an International flight) that got me to initiate these long awaited layouts for our new Journey Jotter.

While fear of failure can hold us back, fear of failing to complete in a time-frame can also force us forward. When it comes to deadlines fear is our ally as it gets us not only to the starting line, but off the starting blocks.

Deadlines are lifesavers, because

Starting makes it happen

 

How do *you* cajole yourself into starting?

Do share in the comments below :)

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6 thoughts on “Deadlines Are Lifesavers

    • Thanks Andi…
      And what cajoling system do you use to get off the starting blocks?
      Although with your beautiful adventures, not a lot of cajoling I suspect is required! ;)

  1. Thanks Linda for an article which strikes at an essential part of me – if there was an award for procrastination then I am sure I would be in the running!!

    I am really happy that I have been able to settle into a good routine for my blog – so far I am 8 months in with a new post every week – although some weeks have been much harder than others I have managed to be consistent.

    I find the weekly deadline I set for myself makes me get started – even if I have not got an obvious idea for a post the dealine forces me to find a topic. Once I START writing the words will normally flow.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience of ‘starting’!
      Its funny how we’re all prone to fluffing around to avoid the ‘real’ task in hand, but once grabbed by the horns it’ll take you along for the ride… if only we’ll let it ;)

      Well done for maintaining your blog :D

  2. I can see this is an old post, but it’s very topical for me. It’s 5:33 AM here on the east coast of the United States and I just pulled an all nighter to finish a legal brief I had to file. My husband always knows when I have a deadline looming for something I’m dreading because our apartment is suddenly very clean, the grocery shopping done, the laundry done, etc. etc. That’s how I can tell I like being a travel blogger more than I like being a lawyer. I don’t find stuff to do to avoid writing posts for my blog.

    • I think some posts never grow old Suzanne – Procrastination is and will be eternal LOL
      I’m happy to hear you’re now (primarily) following the travel blogging path that you both enjoy and are comfortable doing –
      Life is for living, not for anguishing over things that you merely have a talent for!

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