There’s a project I’ve been wanting to work on for months now. And though I keep putting it off, I also keep talking about how much I need to get it done.
“So what would it take to make you do it?” my husband asked.
“A deadline,” I answered.
But here’s the funny thing about deadlines, when promises are made to other people, clients or colleagues or bosses, we tend to deliver on time. But it’s harder to keep promises we make only to ourselves. It’s difficult to follow through when no one is really holding us to it. That is one of the ongoing challenges for artists and entrepreneurs.
Then there are those self-imposed deadlines that fall somewhere in between. Take this blog, for example. In two and a half years, I have not missed a single post, and I have never once been late. Why? It’s not like I’m getting paid to write these posts and or must answer to a boss. And it’s not like you, dear reader, would really notice if I were a day late. In fact, you’d probably fail to notice if I didn’t blog at all that week.
But that’s not the way it feels. It feels like I have made a promise to you to deliver this blog on time. And that makes this deadline stick. It’s a commitment, see? Same with my newsletter and my social media posts.
So here’s what I did regarding that project . . . I contacted a friend and asked if we could set a schedule to meet to review my progress. And I picked a friend who will offer little sympathy for my excuses. That’s important. I’m going to get it done just so I don’t have to tell her I didn’t.
If you’re finding it hard to follow through on a project you care about, find an accountability partner or set up your project so that people are excited to see your progress, because that makes it feel like a commitment!
If you find that you are still missing deadlines and still making excuses, that’s probably a sign that the project isn’t something you feel passionate about. If that’s the case, it may be better just to let it go. No sense wasting energy beating yourself up over something that’s not a good fit. Better to use that energy to push yourself toward something that really matters!