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How to Meet Your Deadlines

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Today I thought I’d share some tips from artists and writers about how they meet their deadlines—and how you can meet yours.

Tip 1: Keep Deadlines Where You Can See Them

Jerry, a portrait painter, explained:

“The thing that works best for me is to have a written calendar that I can look at with all the year’s deadlines written down.  If I need to frame, the time for that is written down, if two shows are coming up I’ll finish the work for one and start on the other, and so on. This may sound obsessive but it really helps.  I need to have this calendar on a wall where I can see it every day.”

Tip 2: Do A Little Here, A Little There

Amy, a miniaturist, says, “Since I worked full time and was raising three children by myself, my painting projects were left on the dining room table. When I had a spare fifteen minutes while dinner was cooking, I would paint. I found that if I did little steps at a time and had a clear plan of what I wanted to do I could accomplish my gallery show paintings in time. I also wore a hat that had a band that said, ‘Please don't interrupt me, I'm working!’”

Tip 3: Be Accountable to Someone

Tamara, a watercolorist told me, “I find that accountability to another human, set up at the beginning of the project and kept up throughout, is really important. When I know that I am going to have to report in to someone regarding a specific goal, it makes me feel embarrassed when I don't meet it.  The fear of embarrassment thus spurs me on!”

Tip 4: Start Early

And here’s a last one from bestselling romance writer Rebecca York:

“The best way to combat the anxiety of deadlines is to start the project well in advance so you leave yourself time to complete it.  Build extra weeks into your schedule. And when I start waking up in the middle of the night worried about getting my work done, my rule is to get up and work--rather than lying there and worrying about it.”

Life comes with deadlines. Learn some tactics that will help you meet your deadlines with grace and ease!

Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is the author of 30 books, among them "Coaching the Artist Within" and "The Van Gogh Blues," and is widely regarded as America’s foremost creativity coach. His most recent book is Brainstorm: Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions. He is a featured contributor to the HuffingtonPost, ArtBistro, and Art Calendar magazine. Visit Dr. Maisel at EricMaisel.com.

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