This post is Part 6 of 6 of The Power of Repetition Series.

Avoiding the Pressure of Deadlines

There is yet another benefit we gain from repetition. It’s not always the case, but I find more often than not, I avoid the pressure of deadlines.

I very much dislike seeing the orange and red reminders of due dates. I only rely on them as a reminder of last resort. Instead, setting up a repetition early on, where the pressure to perform is less, where I can simply sit at the project or task on a regular basis, often allows more than enough time to complete the work. As a result, I rarely see the overdue badge.

Of course, unrealistically short deadlines do appear from time to time. This is not about those times.

Working with regular frequency of visiting a project also gives a better sense of the time the project will take. We never really know the exact time a project will take. The only time we’re close is if we’ve done the exact work before. But having some flow established, starting early and working regularly, means that you can adjust the frequency of sessions from a better understanding of what’s involved.

The frequency of sessions can be adjusted to aim for some comfortable buffer under the due date. This can be used when studying for an exam, writing a paper, or other project.

Some things do not need a firm deadline. I try to be honest with myself as much as possible. Though I may want to complete an album of music, I would not write a task of “Complete a full album of music” and set a false deadline. Doing so would annoy me. It creates a dissonance in me which, in an odd way, leaks into the music itself. The resultant rushed music often gives me a headache and winds up being tossed. A similar concept applies for any project.

In this case, I would use “Complete a CD of Music” as a Project, while a daily “Practice Music” task would provide a way to make new pieces. I work on them for at least a moment or for as long as it doesn’t otherwise interfere with the day’s schedule. If a particular session seems useful towards the album, I’ll include that session to review for the album, adding tasks of editing and post-processing as needed.

The project will be done when it’s done. I try to allow the project whatever time it takes.

There are those who say they “need the pressure” associated with a deadline or procrastination. However, I would suggest that many who say this have rarely experienced the joy of creating, completing, and escaping that pressure, but are are instead, caught up in acting out an unconscious, or even conscious, resentment of the deadline and its associations in the first place.

Make no mistake, real deadlines are irritating impositions upon the desire to be free of any such responsibilities. But, repetition, especially when started early on, can be a powerful way to reduce their pressure.


And this concludes the Power of Repetition Series: