The Value of a Deadline When Doing The Work

Flowers bloom on a deadline. If not, they would not be able to produce seeds while the warm weather lasts.

The Value of a Deadline When Doing The Work

Most of us hate deadlines.

The very idea of having to complete something by a certain time feels stressful. But yet we have deadlines. We have deadlines at work, and in our personal lives too. And there’s a reason for this: deadlines work.

They are especially helpful when coordinating different people working together. Without deadlines, everyone is left waiting for the spirit to move everyone else, which can actually be more stress-inducing than having deadlines.

A Deadline Means "Stop Putting It Off"

Sure, we have images from our past when we were “forced” to finish things. It may seem better not to repeat that history. But look at the alternative. Without some structure, nothing gets done. The only thing that gets done is whatever happens to present itself as an emergency or a whim.

This is passive living, and it’s fine in some regards. But don’t confuse it with “loving what is.” Loving what is also includes loving and acting on inner interests and desires (often to create and learn) that may involve long-term projects. These quiet desires easily get overshadowed by the need to put out fires.

In other words, without using deadlines, we end up doing what others want us to do instead of what we want to do.

If You Want To Do The Work, Why Are You Not Doing It?

The Work of Byron Katie (4 Questions and Turnarounds) is an amazing process of self-exploration. But if you don’t actually do it, it becomes as useless as an ashtray on a motorcycle. What’s the point of knowing something that works and not using it?

Yet, that’s what most of us do with The Work. We love it but we put it on a shelf for later. My call to you today is to start engaging with The Work on a regular basis. Otherwise, what’s the point of being in the “club of The Work”?

Deadlines Can Be Your Friend

If you have committed to a specific time for doing something, you are much more likely to do it. If you involve someone else in that commitment, the likelihood goes up even more.

Having a daily work partner is a great way to keep doing The Work on a regular basis. Taking a class like The Work 101 is also a great way to commit to a practice and begin to sincerely engage with it. When you engage regularly, that’s when the benefits come.

In this spirit, The Work 101 has a deadline. It must be completed in 9 weeks. That means you must keep up with the assignments (five per week) in order to finish on time. It means that taking a vacation in the middle of the class is not going to work. It means you have to take it seriously.

I Have Flexed Both Ways With This Over The Years

What I consistently find is that, when people have one year to take the course, they almost never finish it. So that option is now off the table. If you want to take The Work 101, you’ll need to commit to a rigorous schedule of five assignments per week for nine weeks.

For those who can’t make it, I have a self-study version of the course that you can tinker with at your leisure with no deadline. But for those who really want to get moving with The Work, the versions of the course with a personal trainer or with me as a trainer will now have a deadline.

You can still start any time of the year, but you can’t go longer than 9 weeks. Join The Work 101 if you really want to dig in.


Further reading: Did You Just Join The Gym, Or Are You Working Out?

"If you try to do The Work in your head, without putting your thoughts on paper, the mind will outsmart you. "