Deadlines. We can’t live with them, but we can’t live without them either, especially at work. In the video and special excerpt below, Adam Savage–MythBusters star and the author of EVERY TOOL’S A HAMMER–shares his insights on time management. If you find yourself struggling to finish long-term projects in a timely manner (if at all), this one’s for you…
We don’t do well with time. We struggle to manage it, to take advantage of it, even to conceptualize it. When we have to get something important done, we often feel like we either have absolutely no time or all the time in the world. Either end of the spectrum can hamstring us. We feel crippled by too much or too little leeway, and then, nothing gets done.
We have several different names for this phenomenon, depending on how it manifests: procrastination, perfectionism, analysis paralysis, Hick’s Law, the paradox of choice. Whatever you want to call it, this tendency is the bane of the maker’s existence. More specifically, it is the bane of my existence as a maker if I don’t do something to mitigate it.
That something is almost always to make deadlines. Everything in the previous chapter was about ways to be more efficient and effective, how to ask for help and offer it to others. Deadlines are about helping yourself. I LOVE DEADLINES! They are the chain saw that prunes decision trees. They create limits, refine intention, and focus effort. They are perhaps the greatest productivity tool we have, and you don’t need a Time Life series of books to learn how to make them.
Deadlines are also excuse-busters. They breach the walls we put up between ourselves and new, unfamiliar things that deep down we really want to try. As makers, these walls are the excuses we create for not having created, for not starting or doing or working: I don’t know what to make; I don’t know how to make it; What if I mess up?; I don’t have everything I need. Self-imposed limitations on your time can be the blast charge that crumbles the barrier between you and creativity. They aren’t the most fun things in the world, and they take some getting used to, but when you’re sitting at your workbench or your desk and you’re looking at a finished project, you will almost certainly have deadlines to thank at least in part. You just have to be willing to embrace them.
Discover more ways to stick to your deadlines in EVERY TOOL’S A HAMMER!
For more on Tips on Life & Love: How to Bring More Energy into Your Life
Excerpted from Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage. Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.