How to Meet a Deadline and Enjoy It

There’s nothing I like more than beating a deadline. It wasn’t always that way. When I was in college I stayed up half the night to write a paper due the next day. Now I appreciate the joy of crossing the finish line early.

Writing 2

As I write this I’m in the middle of creating ten sermons. Creative Communications for the Parish contracted me to provide these homilies. They will be used for a 2017 sermon series based on quotes from Martin Luther. Pastors will use them to ease their burden as they work their way through the season. I signed the contract on May 19th and the sermons are due on August 1st.

The carrot dangling in front of me is the check I get when I turn it all in. The stick beating me from behind is the deadline looming on August 1st. More than that, next week we’re leaving on vacation. But there is a certain joy in the whole process. It’s certainly not easy to crank out ten sermons. But the opportunity to exercise real life creativity fires me up.

Here’s how to enjoy beating a deadline:

  1. Reward yourself with real rest. I’m looking forward to enjoying vacation without a project. It will be nice to have a real vacation away from the daily routine of work and an extra added task to complete. A summer sabbatical means refreshment for a new activity year starting in the fall. When you finish early you get extra rest and time for enjoying other things.
  2. Focus on the fun. With every task you take on there is a benefit. The fun for me with this project is honing my creativity and writing. This whole project benefits my daily ministry and work in countless ways. When I remember that it becomes for me an educational game.
  3. Take advantage of your competitive nature. You know you have it in you. I know I do. My competitive nature tells me I’ve got to turn in these ten sermons before the deadline, even if it’s just one day ahead. When I do it will be a major “win” for me. A win for me gives me more satisfaction than most anything else.

What’s your tactic for meeting deadlines?

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