Don’t fear the deadline.

As with just about everyone growing up, I feared deadlines. They felt like a great wall looming in the mist – something that would race up and slam into me. They crippled my creativity by lacing it with dread. I had yet to understand the great gift that a deadline gives a creative endeavor.

By setting a deadline, the creative worker gives him or herself a tangible goal to work toward. A deadline helps a designer structure his schedule, plan out the workflow of a project, consequently feeling less stress instead of more. Without a deadline, a creative person cannot help but procrastinate – whether it is because he suffers from the fear of the blank page (a subject for a future post) or because there is simply no reason not to go and do something else… something that HAS a defined finale (and a timely paycheck).

If I’ve heard this complaint from non-designers once, I’ve heard it a hundred times: “I hired a designer, but they took forever to finish the project.” To which I always ask, “Did you give them a deadline?”

Guess what the answer inevitably is.

Deadlines add structure and direction to your workflow. They reduce stress and make the client understand that they’ll get their work in a timely fashion. Even if there isn’t a press date or an event to work toward, deadlines are a wonderful gift that designers give themselves – and forces them to confront the blank page, work through it, and get the job done.

And done is always beautiful.

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