When I got the idea to write this post, I remembered that I once wrote a post called In Praise of Deadlines. I searched for it and was surprised to see that I wrote it 11 years ago! Well, I’m still a fan of deadlines to get us motivated and push us through to the finish line. (Don’t worry, the sports metaphors end here.)
As many of you know, I like to read. I read 82 books last year and I’m on my 10th book of this year. The book I’m currently reading is Barack Obama’s latest, “A Promised Land”. I read both of Obama’s previous books last year and knew what a great and compelling writer he is. When this newest book was published in the fall, I got online at the library website and reserved the e-book.
It took three months, but I finally got to the top of the list. I checked out the e-book from the library last week. Because it’s such a popular book, I could only take it out for two weeks, instead of the customary three. This is a LONG book — 768 pages — and I figured that I would not be able to get it finished in only two weeks and would probably have to buy it to finish reading it. But I’m now 5 days into it, and I’ve read almost 30%. The race is on!
I’m contrasting my approach to this book with my approach to Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming”, which I read and loved last year. I had purchased it in May of 2019 when I saw a deal on Amazon for the e-book. I already knew I wanted to read it and figured it would be great to have on my Kindle for when I was in between library books. But I didn’t actually read it until a year after I bought it.
There is something compelling about a library book. The pressure is on to read it by the due date. I am more likely to clear the decks and make time to finish this book because I only have 9 days left.
If there is something that you are dragging your heels about — and beating yourself up because of it — set a deadline for yourself. Make it public: tell your family, your friends, everyone on Facebook. Challenge yourself to get started, and put time in your calendar to get it done.
Now, back to my book.