Five reasons why I love a deadline

3 Feb

Deadlines can be hugely motivating. (pic credit: iStockphoto)

I had been putting off writing a particularly difficult report for some time. It’s the one thing on my to-do list that kept glaring at me, and that I kept devising strategies to avoid. Hey, even polishing my kettle or scrubbing my bathroom tiles seemed more tempting than actually tackling this much-deferred task.

Once I had run out of displacement activities, and with just a short while before the deadline was due on this report, I set about the task (which was admin-related, fiddly, but needed to be word-perfect). Stress management experts would undoubtedly tut and warn me of the dangers of allowing myself to get stressed with such a tight deadline.

But you know what? Reading it back, it was probably better than I could have done had I started it several weeks ago when I was supposed to. But that’s what deadlines are for, right? The chance to make a last-minute burst for that finishing line.

So, here are five reasons why I love a deadline:

1. The unconscious mind comes up with such clever, inspired thoughts that your conscious mind – when forced into being brilliant – just refuses to deliver.

2. The inner critic is silenced. That nagging voice stays quiet as your mind races ahead, leaving the critic stumbling and tripping behind you.

3. You no longer know the meaning of the words ‘dither’, ‘procrastinate’ or ‘fuss’.

4. You have left yourself no other choices. Lack of time means this is the only choice available. That keeps you focused and single-minded – and ruthless with your choice of words and phrases.

5. The adrenaline buzz is unrivalled: it can keep you going for days afterwards.

After all, if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.


One Response to “Five reasons why I love a deadline”


  1. Is a deadline the answer to my unfinished novel? | inktuition - 07/03/2011

    […] my unfinished novel? Posted on March 7, 2011 by inktuition There’s nothing like a deadline to focus one’s mind and get a job done. After 15 years as a journalist and editor, I know how […]

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