Content under pressure: Why it’s better to work under deadline

A deadline is negative inspiration.  Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.  ~Rita Mae Brown

I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.  ~Douglas Adams

Lately, I found I’ve been churning out quality work when on deadline. Though for years as a newspaper journalist I’m used to working on deadline, it’s still astounding what the human mind is capable of when faced with pressure. In addition to writing everything I had to write, apparently I had to check for grammar, spelling and context.

Last Friday, with under two hours to go before my belt graduation at my tae kwon do school, I was required to write an essay. Though I had two weeks beforehand to take care of this, I was suffering from writer’s block on the topic I was given: why I need commitment and dedication to be a black belt. In the end, after reading my essay out loud at graduation, it made me feel good to hear all the compliments I receieved. Obviously, rushing to accomplish something on deadline doesn’t necessarily mean the product will turn out bad.

Then last Saturday, I had to write an article an hour before deadline before leaving the house to be somewhere important. The article was about nothing I know about: custom-made embroidery on clothes. So in addition to writing the essay, I had to research the information in order to write it. Again, I nailed the deadline. And, last night before running off to a meeting I had to cover, I had to copywrite a web page for a client 1.5 hours before deadline.

The adrenaline kick I get when I’m on deadline is not only thrilling and tiring, but also helpful because it helps me to focus on the task at hand. The deadline pressure enables me to think more nimbly and to not let my mind drift into la la land. In the end, I find myself more productive and therefore more accomplished. Plus, the wind down I experience from running on deadline helps me to kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor more.

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