Goals are good.
Deadlines are better—well, at least for me.
It’s not that I can’t motivate myself to do things on the slow and steady, but there is nothing like a looming deadline to really bring out the manic work habits in me. Admittedly, I work just fine without deadlines, but boy-howdy, there is something about that ticking clock that lights a fire under me.
Last year I learned how to fold origami cranes. It was kind of fun. It took just enough concentration that I had to pay attention, but not so much that I couldn’t think about things like plot holes. I decided to start folding a thousand, I could always quit later. I figured out how many I’d have to fold a day and all of it.
I learned that deadlines in a distant, nebulous future always lose to deadlines breathing down my neck (didn’t fold many cranes while packing my house). Deadlines with a tangible product as you work closer are very satisfying (that’s a lot of cranes, boxes and boxes).
And then, I realized how many I needed to fold before I got to the end of the year. It was enough to be daunting, but not so many to be impossible. I spent more time folding than I meant to, but then I reached The End. Just like writing a novel, I hung up my last crane and rattled around the house wondering what I was supposed to do with my time.
Basically, it feels just like writing The End on a book (I did that recently too, but you know me, that novel just went to the data version of a trunk to think about what it did). So now I’m in that place where I have that “Yay, I finished… what next?” feeling that permeates the time between projects.
How do you handle that time? Mostly, I’ve been watching TV and trying not to eat all the chocolate.