How do I deal with deadlines? I’m glad you asked. 😉
Watch my latest video or read the transcript below to see how I handle these pesky deadlines.
[On the road to publication…]
Oh no. January’s already over.
[…there is a thing…]
Where did the time go? Ugh, I’m not going to be able to do this!
[…looming over your head…]
Okay, so if I go to bed at midnight and I wake up at four and I do this for a week I should be caught up, but oh my gosh, I’m not going to have any sleep. How am I going to do this?
That’s right, we’re talking all about deadlines. Those things that we loathe and the things that just kind of loom over our heads and we never feel like we’re going to accomplish. But I’m going to go in today on how I set my deadlines and how I actually stick to them. Now you may be saying, but wait, didn’t you already talk about this in your goals and goal setting video, Lenn? Lemme kind of clear something up about what goals are versus what deadlines are. The biggest difference between goals and deadlines is that goals are what you want to accomplish and deadlines are when you want to accomplish those goals by. What makes deadlines scary versus goals is deadlines facilitate authority. If you don’t meet the deadline or if you do, there are consequences on both levels. Now you may be watching this and you do have set deadlines that are set by somebody other than you for your project. It may be work related where you have a deadline for a certain project or you may be a published author and you have these deadlines because of having to have a book release. I am speaking from where I am setting my personal deadlines in my publishing journey because as much as I would love to say that I’m on deadline with a publisher, I right now am making the concerted steps to kind of taking on the habit of creating deadlines for myself so that when I get to that point I already know what it feels like to some extent and in an attempt to be more successful at meeting those deadlines. So if you’re kind of not where you want to be, especially if you are in the process of getting published and you’re kind of like, “Well, why do I need to set deadlines if I don’t have a book coming out?” Practicing that habit of making deadlines definitely makes it so that you are taking on the full-time responsibility of what your life will be like when you get to that point. It’s never too early to start folks. So let me break down how I kind of go about my whole deadline process and how I stick to them in six different steps.
Number One: Clarify your deadline date. Now this may seem self-explanatory that you should have that marked in red in big, bold lettering with lots of circles around it – that deadline, but there are some of us out there who maybe kind of have a general idea when we’re supposed to be done with our project but not a clear date and having that clear date solidifies in your mind and kind of just in that whole project that there is an actual date that is being dependent upon when your project is going to be complete. If you kind of just go into it and be like, “Uh, some time around this,” that goes more into what we were saying about goals, but having that deadline definitely makes it a priority in your life. The nice thing about having this date set in your calendar is the fact that you can know how much time you have to complete your project, and by doing so, it’ll lead into what I do next.
Which is Number Two: Break your deadline into smaller deadlines. For example, if I am having the deadline of okay, I’m going to start writing my first draft for a novel on the first of the month and my deadline is to be at the thirtieth of that month, what I’ll then do is I’ll go by and say, okay that gives me thirty days to kind of get this thing in motion and I make sure that I have like set small deadlines of okay, certain amount of chapters need to be done at week one, then go on from there for each of the subsequent weeks until I get to where that thirty-day is so then I have in my mind, okay these are kind of the steps I’m going to take so I don’t get so overwhelmed.
This next one is a game changer. Number Three: Have an accountability partner. Having an accountability partner is great because you have somebody who is backing you on your quest to finish this project. You’re having the encouragement. You’re also having all the kind GIFs and all the kind memes that kind of uplift you or maybe make you laugh in those times when you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, I’m too overwhelmed.” But having that accountability partner as much as they are there for you to support you, they’re also there to keep you accountable which means that they’ll be checking in on you. And, it really helps if you’re kind of both doing the same journey and kind of similar projects because then you can communicate with each other on a regular basis to kind of just vent about the process but then also to get a difference perspective on how you can go on about succeeding when you may not think you’re going to do but then that other person that is keeping your accountable can say, “Hey, I tried this,” or, “Oh, have you thought about doing this?” and that can really spark kind of that motivation in you and kind of give you that edge over that kind of self-defeating doubt that you may be feeling and having kind of that team that is supporting you.
Number Four: Give yourself grace. Didn’t think that was going to be on there, huh? Well, as it turns out I have found that in my own journey I have to allow myself some days where it’s kind of a grace, if you will, and it’s not like oh, those are the days I’m taking off. No, having that scheduled time where it’s my grace period is almost like scheduling like, okay, I know that on these days I’m going to have to be more productive to make up for the other days I may not be so productive. So, having a couple of those sprinkled throughout your whole deadline will allow you to say okay, I know that on these days I have to really step it up.
Number Five: If you need more time, ask for help! This is a very overlooked kind of outlet to that stress you may feel because we don’t like asking for help. That usually means that we’re admitting defeat and nobody wants to do that. But I’m telling you that if you have deadlines, especially those that have been put upon by somebody who is not yourself, being open and honest about where you are in the process and reaching out to them is really going to pay off. If you just kind of think, “Oh, well I’m going to let them down,” or, “This is going to negatively affect me and so I just can’t admit that I am far behind,” and you end up spending the next day or so with no sleep, looking like a zombie, doing work that maybe isn’t your best, and that’s all because you didn’t ask for help. That’s something that I have often had to learn. And I’m still learning on how to ask for help. But, by doing so and asking for maybe an extension is way better than just trying to make up for the fact that you know you’re not going to have the time and you’re trying to just cram it through. So be open and honest about those that you have a deadline with if that’s in your case. If you’re the one that has put that deadline on yourself and you’re just like, “Oh, whelp, didn’t meet that,” I urge you to kind of hold yourself a little bit more accountable to that and question what was it about that deadline and why you didn’t meet it as to kind of give you an inspiration as to next time on how to be more successful. It’s okay to be a little strict on yourself and kind of push yourself out of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to meeting those deadlines.
And lastly, Number Six: Learn what worked for you and what didn’t work for you. If you really examine through your whole process in trying to just achieve what you want during your deadline and that day comes and you kind of are able to evaluate your process, you can see okay, these are things that made me successful. Maybe it was waking up early in the morning to dedicate time or you’re staying up later than you normally do to dedicate time to your project. Or, maybe it’s just a different means of different mediums that you’re using. Another example would be if you are used to drafting on the computer versus handwriting or vice-versa, trying the other thing might be something that makes you more successful during that time. Whatever it is that you find works for you, obviously there’s a reason that it works for you and you should keep doing it. However, if you can see that oh, maybe I was too tired because I was staying up too late and now I can’t function the rest of the day, that’s not in your best interest to keep doing that to try to squeeze that time in. Maybe getting up would be better suited to you. It all depends on kind of what you see that your strengths are and your weaknesses are so that you can prepare for the future and all those future deadlines that are bound to come your way.
With that, I hope you guys have a wonderful week and until next video, bye!
Until next post,