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Using Deadlines to Motivate Yourself

Posted By: Randy GageFebruary 12, 2018

How can you accomplish something that seems really daunting to you?  How do you harness the motivation to tackle the difficult things?

Let me take you back to the process of how I wrote my first book.  I spent five years working on it, and completed just two chapters.  (Which actually means I wrote two chapters in one month, then told people I was writing a book for the next four years and eleven months.)

Then I decided to get serious and finish it.  When I got back to it, I realized the first two chapters were garbage, threw them away and started over.

Then I wrote the entire book in five days.  What happened?

I was chatting with my friend, the late Ray Pelletier and told him I was going down to Key West to write.  Having just finished his own book, he had some powerful advice.

He said, “Schedule a book completion party for the night you’re coming back. Invite all your family and friends.  Invite all your best clients.  Have someone design the book cover to unveil it at the party.  Create a situation where you will be so humiliated and so embarrassed – you will be afraid to show your face if you don’t finish the book.”

I know fucking gold when I hear it.

So I did exactly as Ray suggested.  Got down to Key West and hunkered over the keyboard.  I wrote for about 15 hours on day one.  And almost finished two chapters.  (And my working table of contents had eleven.)  I was despondent and suicidal…

But I kept remembering all the people who were going to be waiting for me back in Miami on party night.  I even had clients who were flying in from far places.  I hunkered down again.  I’d love to stretch out all the drama, but the truth is, I finished the book a day early and laid around the pool on my last day, before heading home to the party.  (That book is now in its 4th edition, 25th printing, and has since been published in Korea, Russia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland.)  The process I used for that book is now my go-to process for almost every big project.

And it can be yours, if you have a strong enough personality for it…

Be willing to paint yourself into a corner, where you have no escape.  And you just might find you can do more in five days, than you used to do in five years.

I have some other “Jedi mind tricks” for how you can accomplish more.  We’ll pick that up tomorrow, on the next post…

-RG

7 comments on “Using Deadlines to Motivate Yourself”

  1. Very good strategy. Similar to final exams where we read the whole course material in the 2 nights before the test.

    Thanks for being great to learn from.
    Jim
    MA

  2. I made a similar experience last year. On June 1st, I started my new job, and so I thought I would have to publish my first book as soon as possible. It took me two more months but by August, I had finished it to publish it on Amazon. Time gave me a pressure because the book describes my life until May 2017, it's about finding my vocation. I am still learning and changing but since then life has become better, "coaching" of the carseller is just the beginning of the future living my talents.

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  • 7 comments on “Using Deadlines to Motivate Yourself”

    1. Very good strategy. Similar to final exams where we read the whole course material in the 2 nights before the test.

      Thanks for being great to learn from.
      Jim
      MA

    2. I made a similar experience last year. On June 1st, I started my new job, and so I thought I would have to publish my first book as soon as possible. It took me two more months but by August, I had finished it to publish it on Amazon. Time gave me a pressure because the book describes my life until May 2017, it's about finding my vocation. I am still learning and changing but since then life has become better, "coaching" of the carseller is just the beginning of the future living my talents.

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