The Reality of Working Without A Deadline

Stavanger, Norway | Photo by Joy Randle

I work best with deadlines. 

Reality: I have no deadlines anymore. 

I have no desk, no boss to tell me that an edit is due, or that this copy needs to be finalized before the end of day. I am now a freelancer, one of the millions of people who prefer the freedom to create their own schedule for the sake of flexibility and variety of work.

Now I have to create my own schedule and stick with it. Seems easy right? Nope. Truth is sticking is friggin’ hard. It’s hard to say hey Patience, looks like you’ve done all you can for this page of copy, now on to the next. Stop adding to it, stop editing, it looks good, let’s move forward. 

Now I have to rely on my own reasoning and be confident in what I know I can take on and what I can’t. I’m an early riser but when there’s no office to go to it’s easy to lounge in sweatpants and overthink my life and what the heck I'm doin' with it (which I do often). So, I’ve made a plan. I'm giving myself a realistic deadline everyday. A chain that I can not break. I’m working on a book, a a script, this blog and projects I have to complete for various clients. There are certain hours of the day dedicated to each and if I get stuck on something, I can’t linger on it for more than 20 minutes. I’ve gotta move on to something else and come back to it later. I’ve got to wake up early, take a shower, and get dressed and pick a spot to work from. A coffee shop, my kitchen table, the porch at night, my hotel room when I travel. Whatever works. And I have to write. Write, rewrite. Stand up and pace, sit back down and write. Color if I get stuck, take a coffee break. Whatever, but I can't break that chain. 

It’s 8am right now and I’m in Bergen, a busy Norwegian city that's booming with energy and people. I’m sitting in the cafe with too many cups of Norwegian coffee, people watching, making myself write. 

I don't have anyone to give me deadlines anymore but I think I'll be ok. If you're passionate enough about something you'll keep doing it a little bit everyday. Practice doesn't make perfect but I believe it makes you better at your craft. And if I’m better than I was yesterday, well, I’ll take that. 

*All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated. Please ask permission before using.