Chris Boardman Music Blog: Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines! What's the big deal?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines! What's the big deal?

Why is it we cringe, if not freeze up, when a deadline approaches? All of us can lapse into self-doubt or lack of confidence...especially when we are challenged. Having an understanding of the use and importance of deadlines will help move you past your fear and indecision.

Deadlines have a purpose. 

A deadline creates an expectation between the consumer of your product/service and you, the creator of that product/service. This is essential for the creative person. Without a deadline (with consequences) there is a good chance you won't complete your project...let alone complete it on time. 

Meeting deadlines requires organization and focus

Being organized will bring clarity to your process. The first step is to articulate (write down) your goals. It doesn't matter if you work alone or in a large group, taking the time to be specific about your responsibilities and intentions will pay great dividends by creating better communications between team members and yourself..

After determining the scope of a project what has worked well for me time and time again is to segment the process (and the resulting fear) into smaller parts

Once I have a good idea of what my role is, how I fit into the whole and what is expected of me I can segment my process into smaller, manageable parts. I then estimate how long it will take to accomplish each one. This creates a schedule that will ensure I complete my project on time (provided I am disciplined enough to keep to my schedule). 

Time to be creative.

Once you have a timeline in place with clear objectives the fun begins. You can always find a way to be creative "inside" your project and thus satisfy your creative urges.  If you have faith in your schedule and organization you can let go and immerse yourself, giving each part your full attention because you have the comfort and confidence that you will finish on time. 

The benefits of organization are:

1- less anxiety means better focus and productivity
2- being able to manage client relationships (staying on schedule and being able to account for your time generates confidence)
3- effectively dealing with distraction (knowing where you are in the process at any moment will help bring you back to the same state of mind)

Skin in the game

Reputation is EVERYTHING. Reputation is more valuable than money because it can't be bought. Like it or not, we are judged by the perception of our reputation...and not the actual product we deliver. Not delivering on time will have severe negative consequences to the perceived quality of your work. Once that genie is out of the is impossible to contain.

Understanding your role, your responsibilities and your process are the tools you need to be able to work under deadline pressure and maintain the integrity of your work. Mastering these simple tools will enable you to call up your creative muses on demand and be in charge of the process instead of letting the process be in charge of you. 

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