Discipline and deadlines

It’s funny…

… it’s taken me a day to start writing this post…

… a whole day with that title sitting there on my screen above a blank page….

… Oh, the irony – it burns!

Of course, in that day I’ve done a whole heap else (including opening my Etsy shop), so my procrastination has been productive!

It’s still procrastination though…

Which brings me to our topic:

As you can see from the unintended case study above, discipline is not always an easy thing for me! The main tool I use to encourage my discipline (or at least it’s close friend, ‘focus’) is DEADLINES:

  • Without some sort of deadline I’m fairly useless at getting on with stuff. Fluffing round thinking about it, now that I do very well!
  • Even self-imposed deadlines help me. Better still if there’s some form of public accountability.

Case study #1: The Self-imposed Deadline

I announced that my Etsy shop would open on October 31 – so I spent October 30 putting the final touches to months of work to make sure it opened on time (two hours loading listings – aiiiiieeee!)

Without this self-proclaimed deadline, I would still be thinking about taking the photos – true fact!

Case study #2: The External Deadline

A year ago I committed to dance at a Community Bellydance Showcase this coming weekend. Because of that commitment I have practiced, arranged for our group to practice, organised my music, and basically thoroughly prepped (though there will be still more practice between now and Sunday).

As for the event I thought I might organise a year ago – it still hasn’t happened…

(BTW Sunday’s Showcase will be awesome – do come if you can!)

So, why do deadlines work for me?

I think there are multiple reasons, including:

  1. I take commitments seriously (“My word is my bond”)
  2. I don’t like to let people down (which does mean I am careful about what I commit to; otherwise, I’m in trouble – aka over-committed hell)
  3. I don’t want to be embarrassed by not keeping my word
  4. I do actually like to create (a fact that tends to escape me when I’m lying in bed trying to decide between novel-with-cuppa or dance training)

Of course, there is a risk that, if there are too many deadlines, I might crash and burn and stop enjoying my creating. I’ve learnt the hard way to manage this carefully.

So, how about you?

  • Do deadlines help you achieve your goals? Or not?
  • How do you avoid over-committed burn-out? Do you avoid it?!
  • Are there other tools you use to trick your brain into productivity?

Let’s talk about this!




Author: verdant1

belly dancer, mother, student, public servant, shaman, knitter, sister, feminist, gardener and a lot more...

3 thoughts on “Discipline and deadlines”

  1. Yes to deadlines. At the end of last year I committed to organising a (second) bellydance fundraising showcase. I booked and paid for the venue. SoI had to rally my troupe (and everyone else involved) to make sure it happens on Sunday – despite unexpectedly taking on a huge new job/business venture last month. True story.
    I’m glad my deadline worked for you too! πŸ˜€


  2. Deadlines definitely help me finish things, but mainly if they’re external deadlines. I often set myself challenges, as my blog shows, but I don’t often complete them. That said, I get more done for having accepted a challenge than if I didn’t, so I still count it as a good thing.
    I’ve recently discovered that working means having to plan time for house things better, which I think I’m doing okay at.
    I’ve also discovered that if my worktable is clear I’m more likely to make progress on projects, but it’s still an effort to keep it that way.


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