The Power of Deadlines

A number of years ago I created a CD set called The Effort-Free Life System which looks like this…

Effort-Free-Life-System

 

It consisted of a step-by-step process to help people go from struggle and resistance to a life filled with more ease and grace.

I decided to publish a monthly newsletter to go with it.

I don’t know what I was thinking: I was already very busy running a full-time mail order business, LifeTools, and now I was adding more work!

My local printer needed me to get the artwork to them by noon at the absolute latest on the third Friday of the month.

For the first 2 weeks of each month I was very busy writing sales copy, liaising with my team, running teleconference calls, organising joint ventures, and so on.

There was very little time to write and lay out a newsletter!

When it got to 3 days before my deadline I knew that I had to get the newsletter created.

I got my PA to stop all phone calls apart from emergencies.

I switched off email.

And I wrote, and wrote and wrote.

In those final 3 days I put together a 12-page, 2-colour, 12-000-word newsletter using QuarkXpress (now I use Adobe InDesign).

Each issue consisted of tons of text, photos, cartoons, custom graphics, and more.

I had no time to think.

I only had time to act.

I didn’t write all 12,000 words: I wrote about 9,000 of them.

I got other people to contribute the remaining 3,000 – but I needed to edit their words.

So in those 3 days I wrote 3,000 words a day on personal development and business.

And each month I was able to email the newsletter to the printer in the nick of time – or sometimes an hour or 2 after their absolute deadline.

There was no way I would throw the towel in and quit: at its peak we were printing thousands of copies of the newsletter, and selling it for £19.95 (US$29.95) a month with a CD containing an interview with a personal development expert or a talk by me.

That’s a lot of revenue I wasn’t going to walk away from!

It would be great if I could tell you that after a few issues I learned to spread the work over the entire month. I did a little.

But mostly I created every issue in the last 3 days.

This went on for 45 issues: nearly 4 years!

Here’s a photo of me with some of the issues I created…

Christopher-John-Payne

 

At the end of those 4 years I had written about 400,000 words.

I feel very proud of my achievement, and my loyal subscribers seemed to really appreciate the content too.

As I look back, I have a funny feeling that, if I hadn’t created all those issues, and achieved all that sales revenue, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have achieved anything more in another area of the business: my other work would have simply expanded into those 3 days I allocated.

Here’s a few takeaways for you…

Create an ambitious ‘stretch’ goal for yourself in your business – or even in your health
Have a regular deadline that you can’t wiggle out of
No matter how challenging it may seem to meet that goal, go for it anyway: in most cases you’ll surprise and delight yourself
One last thing…

The Effort-Free Life System CD set is now rather out of date. I’m working on Version 2.0. I now love working to tight deadlines. If you’d like to support me to get this finished and launched, get in touch!

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