Writers want deadlines to keep us on track to:
Submit a proposal
Write a book
Edit a book
Approve the final version of the book
Market the book.
Rinse and repeat, we hope!
Since we have so many deadlines in our writing lives, do we need more in our personal lives? Of course, we may encounter deadlines whether we want them or not. But I’ve found that taking a different, less goal-oriented approach whenever possible has helped me eliminate unnecessary stress.
Missing Meaning in Exchange for a Goal
I once used an app on my phone that set me on a Bible-reading journey that would ensure I’d complete the book in a designated period. I don’t deny I enjoyed the app. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I ended the day’s reading. But seeing little green dots indicating achievement on an app misses the point of Bible reading.
Sometimes I’d miss a day. Catching up took some effort. Then I’d miss another. Catching up took even more time. Before long, I had gotten so far behind that I felt like a failure. Even worse, I rushed through more chapters than I would have liked for the sake of reaching the finish line. Though my intentions and the app developers’ intentions were good, the goal-oriented outcome proved too distracting for me.
Kicking Out the Goal
For my current reading, I felt drawn to my leather-bound Holman Christian Standard Study Bible for Women. I’m reading straight through at my own pace without worrying about how many chapters I read in any given sitting. I am also taking advantage of the intense study notes geared to women. The notes slow me down, but reaching a specific goal is no longer the point. I enjoy this journey more than I did when I felt I had to hit a target. Certain words and phrases resonate with me now more than they did in the past, a phenomenon familiar to repeat Bible readers. I missed this experience when I used a deadline-oriented app.
Which Deadlines Will You Ditch?
Whether it’s reading, cleaning, decluttering, exercising, or something else, if deadlines help you, by all means, use an app, a calendar, or anything you like to achieve your goal. We are different; many people thrive on deadlines and goals in all aspects of life. But I have found that when I get away from deadlines whenever possible in my personal life, I’m more relaxed. My mind is cleared of clutter. Ditching deadlines where I can has worked well for me. Try reorganizing a few places in your life and see what works for you.
Except for writing, of course. We all want deadlines there!