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The Funny Thing About Deadlines…

October 13, 2010

deadlinesSome people hate deadlines. I love them. Without deadlines, I would get nothing done.

The problem I have with deadlines is that I work to them. No matter when they are.

For example: I got a portrait commission this summer. The client said to me that it wasn’t urgent, she didn’t need it any time soon, just as long as it was finished by November for her son’s birthday. I assured her that there was no way it would take that long.

Well, guess what? It’s still only half finished.

It’s a small portrait, nothing special and there is absolutely no reason for it to take that long. I have never taken so long with a portrait. Ever.

So why the delay? The deadline, of course.

I am a huge procrastinator. I’m the person who plans to submit art to an exhibition for months, and is scrambling on the last day to get things together.

In some situations, I think it’s an unconscious attempt to create a false sense of urgency. I do my best work under pressure. It certainly worked when I was in school. I would have weeks, months even, to write a paper, but I would leave it to the last minute. I’d hole up for the weekend, eating nothing but popcorn and doing nothing but sit at the computer. And it always worked!

The thing is, I am never late. Ever. No matter what the deadline, I will always keep it, even if I’m working up to the last minute.

Is it ridiculous that I’ve been working on the same commission for the past three months? Yes. Will it get done by the deadline? Yes.

What’s the moral? Who knows? There’s no lesson today, just rambling.

How do you deal with deadlines?


From → Art General, Painting

  1. Oh man, I am so glad that I’m not the only one who does this.

    Been planning my application to a studio since May. I have a month left. Not one of the 6 pieces is finished.

    For some reason, I like to stress myself out. Oddly enough, for me, I don’t even think I do my best work under pressure.

    No answers here either, just noticing.

    • Hi Sarah! Yeah, answers are the hard part, haha. I guess the first step is recognizing the problem, though! We’re on the right track. If you figure it out, let me know!

      David, I know exactly what you mean. Thinking about putting off my deadlines puts me in a state of dread as well, but somehow I do it anyways! I just push it to the back of my head. Something along the lines of “out of sight out of mind.” Or more accurately, “out of mind, out of existence.” Until I absolutely have to do something about it, of course!

      Jeff, there is definitely something about being under the gun that gets the brain firing. I don’t know what it is, but I wish there was some way to get to that point without leaving things until the last minute!

  2. Just thinking about putting off a deadline til the last minute puts me in a state of dread! I’ve done it a few times but don’t really like the emotional rollercoaster ride it takes me on.

  3. wow you are not the only one in this boat , i do my best work under pressure , i put things of until the pressure starts coming and then my brain goes into overdrive , work work work ,

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