When I hit "submit" on a scholarship recommendation for a creative-leader-mama recently, it was exactly seven days before the deadline. I wanted to weep with joy.
I have long stood in awe of people who have things done before a deadline. Like days before a deadline. Things like applications or straightening up before a party or packing for a trip.
This is happening for me more often these days as I simplify, but it's still a work in progress.
It looks so beautiful, right? Kind of blurry from the other side, like there's Vaseline on the camera lens or something. That kind of life where you have enough time to finish the things you commit to, and you plan when you'll work on them, and you get them done with time to spare in case of things like printer jams and traffic jams and all the other jams that we get in when we're down to the wire.
But if you're not in that place, how do you get there?
Because you've probably over-committed. And you probably have 27 fires to attend to with deadlines RIGHT NOW (or yesterday). And you can't just say, "Screw you, 27 fires. I've got to work on these things that are three weeks away so I can be the person in the beautiful, kind of blurry Vaseline life now."
Well, you could. There would be consequences, but you could do that.
If you're not up for the screw-you-27-fires plan, consider this idea:
Just choose one thing that you have coming up soon-ish but not immediately. Something that you're not already behind on. And commit to finishing it one week before the deadline.
Here's how it'll work:
1: This is a real commitment, not one of those times when you vaguely schedule time to work ahead on something and then hit snooze 75 times on your Google reminder. Even if you have to stay up late on the night before your early deadline, you're going to meet it!
2: Choose something that will be actually, really done once you complete it. Something on which you will hit send, publish, enter, or submit--even if it's metaphorically speaking.
3: With everything else, you can keep going status quo and hit send at 11:59PM on the last possible day. But with this one thing, you're going to be done early.
Give yourself the gift of that feeling. That done-with-seven-days-to-go feeling. That bit of space that gives you a small, private smile while you work on putting out those 27 fires.
See if you like it.