Whether it’s a deadline to produce your record, publish your book, launch your site or release your app, the reason they call it a “deadline” is because if you don’t reach it, you’ll die! Actually the word “deadline” originated in my world—publishing. It refers to a time when a line of lead type was labeled “do not move” after it was edited, proofed and ready to print. Unlike the 1st issue of Music Connection magazine, which took us forever to finally get it to the printer because there really was no deadline—we could take as long as we wanted to get it right. However, once that first “weekly” issue hit the stands, our cred was immediately on the line and we were forced into a no-way-out situation—a promised print date loomed every issue after that for the next 35 years.
If you don’t make the deadline you may not die but there will be consequences. Your customers won’t trust you, your fans won’t evangelize for you, your readers won’t believe you, and your advertisers or sponsors will want credit on promises not kept. Remember, we not only buy your work because it’s exceptional, we also trust that you’ll keep your word and deliver it when you say. And we’re not very forgiving when you give us excuses or tell us your tales of woe. We don’t care that your printer screwed up!
The up side to a deadline is that it provides a no-way-out factor that actually supports you in keeping your word—to your self, your customers, fans, members, etc. And your Muse loves deadlines, because they’re the ultimate inspiration to provoke you to create and complete your very best work. I can’t possibly write these blogs & stories without a self-imposed deadline. The demon of procrastination will slow my progress and the devil of distraction will steal my attention. I must put a deadline on my work. After 33 years in the publishing biz the “deadline gene” is permanently embedded in my DNA!
There’s a common rule of thumb in the law: Never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to. There’s also a common rule of thumb in business: Don’t proclaim that you’ll release, print, launch, publish or ship unless you already know you’re going to make that deadline—like it was embedded in your DNA.