Hello, hello! How did your first week of 2020 go? Were you as productive as you wanted to be? My week has been pretty good. I made a revision schedule for DS1 and came up with two deadlines (the ideal one versus the actual one). I’ll share them with you along with my thoughts on self-imposed deadlines in a moment, but first I wanted to say that I’m ahead of schedule and (so far) sticking to the goals necessary to complete the revisions ahead of my ideal schedule. I’m not crocheting as much as I want, but I’ll eventually find a balance. Anyway, the year has been good and productive thus far! Huzzah!
So, like I said, I made a revision schedule for DS1. If I revise a 1,000-word chunk four days a week, I will be able to finish the second draft of this novel (draft one was 66,100ish words) by April 30th. That’s my actual goal. It’s realistic and easily doable even if I fall a little behind. Why only four days a week? Because Sunday is shower day, which is an all day thing; Tuesday (or sometimes Monday) is blog writing day, which I usually don’t feel like do anything productive afterwards; and one day a week for doctor’s appointments, errands, crocheting, or just me time. I think that’s a reasonable schedule at this point. However, if I continue with the same basic schedule, just with revising 1,500-word chunks, my finish date becomes March 20th (my ideal deadline). So far, I’m keeping up with the latter date, plus I already had about 2,000 words revised that held up well under scrutiny, so I’m ahead of the March 20th deadline by about a day.
I realize that these are self-imposed deadlines, which a lot of people think are useless. There aren’t any real consequences if I miss them, so are they really that helpful? For me, the answer is yes and no. Let’s tackle the no first. The efficacy of self-imposed deadlines really depends on my mood. If I’m feeling depressed and unmotivated and all of that, a self-imposed deadline means absolutely nothing to me. All it does is make me feel worse because I let myself down. You give me a deadline for a paying job or if I’m taking a class or something and I’ll get everything done a day early come Hell or high water. But a self-imposed deadline doesn’t offer me the same kind of motivation.
If that’s the case, then how are self-imposed deadlines helpful to me? Because they remind me that I have my own pace. That I know my own abilities. In a couple of weeks, when I’m looking at my revisions and upset that I’m not closer to the end, I will be able to look at my deadlines and remind myself that I’m on track according to my own abilities. I’m not capable of writing 5,000 words in one sitting. I can’t fully revise 6,500 words in one day. Other people can. I’m not them. And having those self-imposed deadlines reminds me that I have a plan, that I made this plan for a reason and it’s catered to my own abilities. It helps me from getting too discouraged.
What are your thoughts on self-imposed deadlines? Are they helpful to you? Do you stick with them? As usual, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!
2 thoughts on “Self-Imposed Deadlines: Do They Work?”
When I was copywriting for a living, everything I did was on a deadline… and I burned myself out. These days, I tend to motivate myself with a schedule. It’s more flexible, but still pushes the boundaries of deadline-ness without casting a dark shadow of doom over me.
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I totally get that. It’s a nice way to look at schedules. I’m still trying to find the right one for me.
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