A deadline is double-edged


11.:59 BST tonight is the deadline for the poor souls who’ve completed the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge but are still desperately ttitivating their proposals to be in with a chance of winning a publishing deal with Practical Inspiration Publishing. 

On the one hand, a deadline is marvellous because it focuses the mind. The dishwasher may need emptying, the weeds might be strangling the tomato seedlings, but they can wait. It’s only a few hours, so you give yourself permission to focus like a Jedi. (‘I am with the deadline, and the deadline is with me. I am with the deadline, and the deadline is with me….’

Nothing like a deadline for Getting Stuff Done. 

On the other hand, the closer the network, the less open we are to new ideas and insights. There’s a better way of doing this, you say? I don’t care: I haven’t got time, stand aside and let me crack on and finish this thing, however suboptimally. 

In an ideal world, of course, deadlines would hold no terror because we’d plan our work well in advance, give ourselves time for lots of spacious thinking and creative energy, and gradually draw the strands together to finish with a flourish and time enough in hand to run a spell check and format the title prettily. 

But this is no ideal world. 

And so, my apologies to those challengers who are even as I type filling in the extra titles for the competition analysis, firming up the marketing plan and making sure their synopsis is sufficiently pithy. You’re probably not feeling at your most expansively creative right now. But on the other hand, you are at leasts Doing It. Thank the deadline for that. 

Deadlines. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.