Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deadlines, The Ultimate Motivator

I work so much better when I'm under a deadline. My focus is keener, I'm faster and more efficient, and, in many cases, I think I'm more creative. I need the hard end a deadline provides to spur me into action. Take the two weeks leading up to Kate's family's arrival, for example. Kate and I got more done in that short period of time than we'd gotten done in the previous six months. Knowing that we had to be finished to a certain point by a certain date, we buckled down and made it happen, and in the process ended up feeling so much better about ourselves and our house.

At work I operate under deadlines all the time. Often I'm creating 30 second commercial spots from scratch in two to three days. The project I'm working on now, a half-hour, multi-chapter training package, has a long deadline of two and a half weeks from now. But given the size of the project, I know that the time will pass quickly, so I find myself highly focused, but relaxed, everyday. The work days evaporate when I'm under deadline, which is great. There's nothing I hate more than slow work weeks, when the days crawl past. Being under deadline makes my job more exciting, and makes the time fly by.

If only I could work out a way to be under deadline with everything I need to do in my life. I know I'd procrastinate far less and I'd be much more efficient. Maybe if I hired goons to threaten me with physical harm if I don't accomplish "A" by a certain time. Or set automated emails of embarrassing stories to be sent to friends and family if not deactivated by a certain point by a password I can only access by completing specific tasks. Even if any of that wasn't ridiculous, I'd procrastinate setting it up, so it wouldn't likely help me. I'll just have to be content with the deadlines I do have naturally, and work to be as efficient when I'm not under the gun.

Okay, I have to finish this. I have an 8:00 deadline looming...I need to get ready for work. See. Deadlines work.

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