Sunset Is Your Daily Deadline, So Make Hay While it Shines

David Fincher

“The fact is, you don't know what directing is until the sun is setting and you've got to get five shots and you're only going to get two.” – David Fincher, Born May 10, 1962.

One good thing I learned in art school is that a hard deadline is remarkably inspirational.

You learn to make do with what you've got at hand, in the time you have left. And a lot of times, you can squeeze sheer brilliance out of it, even though what you end up with is miles away from what you WOULD have done with infinite time and resources.

And that is one of the problems I think many smart, creative, and capable people have when it comes to getting some business of their own going on the side.

They have a wide open time frame, and they spend forever preparing and learning and getting ready. Because the hammer is never going to drop.

The sun will never set if you give yourself forever to do what you need to do.

Therefore, if your work doesn't impose them upon you, then you must impose hard deadlines on yourself.

It may seem stupid, but your brain can't tell the difference. Get a calendar and mark it. Set alarms that count down the days for you. Hell, publicly announce your deadlines and give yourself some measure of accountability if you lack even this minimal amount of discipline.

And listen, a lot of times, you might not get a perfect amazing piece of work. But it's almost always going to be better than having done nothing. And nothing is what you would have done without arbitrarily limiting your own time.

You don't have forever. You have a day. A week. A month. A year. The sun sets every day. Pick the impending sunset that is just comfortable enough to make you sorta confident, but just soon enough to scare you a little.

Command the sun to set on you. You say when. And then set about making hay while the sun shines.

Because if you don't, you're gonna slip. You're not gonna get five shots. But if you bust ass, you might get two. And two is going to have to be good enough.

The upside is, the more you subject yourself to this form of discipline, the better you get at performing in the clinch.

Productivity skyrockets. Results multiply. Life gets easy. Deadlines become habit.

Try it.

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