Deadlines: Motivators or Stressors?
Thursday greetings, buttercup! Your eyes do not deceive you. I am a day off from my usual Wednesday post. Oops!
I haven’t missed a Wednesday post in years, unless it was part of a scheduled break. My type-A personality is pacing and nail biting over this. Missing a deadline, even one that is self-imposed, is cause for upset. I may have to punish myself with a cupcake. That doesn’t sound like much of a rebuke, but I’ll feel horrible about all those calories. Honest!
Missing my Wednesday post got me thinking about deadlines. We come up against many over the course of our lives, some more important than others. Here are a few I thought of right off the bat:
- Turning in school assignments on time—or not—might affect your GPA. In high school, my A+ paper was reduced a full letter grade to B+ because I turned it in a day late. Mrs. Mountford’s due dates were not to be trifled with. Losing that hard won A+ made me miserable—obviously, since I’m still whining about it 40 years later. Some things are just whine-worthy. This is one of them. BUT . . . thanks to Mrs. M, I learned something valuable and have missed few deadlines in the last four decades. There’s a reason she is the best English and Literature teacher ever to walk the planet.
- Like Mrs. M, the IRS does not fool around. Although the IRS allows for extensions on the filing of annual taxes, they charge interest retroactively on any monies owed. So, if you don’t file your taxes until October, you will owe your taxes due plus late fines and interest on that amount from the previous April. This is incentive to stop putting off that first quarter visit to the accountant’s office.
- Submission deadlines on anything publishing related are to be taken seriously. If a call-out specifies a deadline of December 1st, then interested writers had best complete their work and deliver it on time and following the requested guidelines. The phrase “you snooze, you lose” applies here. Once in a while an editor might accept something late, but if it’s a new market and you have no prior working relationship with that editor, don’t bet your byline on it, especially if it’s something likely to generate tons of submissions. To have our work considered, we must submit on time.
Deadlines can work for us or against us. If you’re someone who uses deadlines as motivational tools against procrastination, they are positives. I’m one of those. Deadlines help keep me on track and organized. But if you’re someone who procrastinates even as you stare at your calendar and stress over those big red circles around dates, then deadlines are negatives. My advice? Stop stressing. Go eat a cupcake. Or two. And after you feel you’ve punished yourself enough 🙂 put photos of Thor beside those big red circles and watch your motivation kick into high gear.
(I might have a teensy little crush on Thor. Shh . . . don’t tell the hubster.)
Which type of person are you? Do you thrive on the pressure of a deadline or do you use the deadline to keep you on task? Will you share in the comments a time when a deadline either helped or hurt you?
See you next Wednesday. Thanks for hanging out with me!
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