Deadlines: Tight or Loose for Best Results?

It’s critical to meet writing deadlines when running a writing business, right? No surprise there.

Also no surprise to know we each have a different way of working.

Some of us work best under the pressure of a deadline. When there isn’t time for any distractions, we can focus on the project at hand and get it done — without sacrificing quality.

Others prefer to take a leisurely approach and need time to plan, outline, draft, edit, rest, revisit, polish, and finally finish a piece — of high quality.

All through school, I could have months or weeks to work on a project, but it never mattered. I’d (almost) always wait until the night before to start, do, and finish the project. I was most motivated by that freight train’s light rushing toward me and could always produce something — never did I feel it was my best work, but I got passing grades.


As a business owner, I do work well under pressure and am not afraid to take on rush projects. There’s something highly motivating about knowing there are x number of hours to produce a 2-page report — and so no distractions are allowed.

But my preferred method of working is with a deadline, so that I can be leisurely and take on more projects. By working on something a bit at a time and giving it time to sit and having time to review before submitting, I feel I produce my best work.

And by planning and scheduling my time, I can take on more projects without stressing about how to finish any of them.

How do you work best?

Do you need a tight deadline?

Or do you need plenty of time to produce your best results?

We’re each different and no one method is perfect for everyone.

It’s good to know what works for you. Then you’re able to use that awareness to produce and deliver your best work to your clients and keep them coming back with more projects.

Do you find one way works best for you all the time? Or does it depend on the type of project?

I’d like to hear from you in the comments.

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She works well with the clock ticking, but prefers to have a plan and time to implement a project. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook,  Google+, and LinkedIn.

18 thoughts on “Deadlines: Tight or Loose for Best Results?

  1. I usually work well with deadlines, but I try my best to start early so that even though I enjoy the pressure of having to finish TONIGHT, I have things fleshed out to make that process easier.

  2. I set the deadline, work out how to reach it at a comfortable and controlled pace. Then I sit back remember that life is chaotic and that writing must go on around family and the unknown, so I revise the deadline bringing it at least a week closer. Then if I fall behind I just go for it and sleep later. 🙂

  3. I think I work best when I am under presser. I don’t know why. But, I am one of those people who don’t wait til the last minute either. When I am given an assignment, I work on it right away. If reading is involved( a lot of reading), I find it hard to focus, especially if it is dry reading.

  4. I was told by an organizational expert that I’m an “anti-crastinator.” As you might guess, it’s the opposite of procrastinator. In school, while others were chilling afteer the first day of classes, I was in the library beginning my research for one of our end-of-the semester projects. That being said, deadlines help make sure a particular project dosn’t get lost in the hundreds of personal and professional tasks on my “do someday” list. If a deadline is not provided but I don’t want the assignmenet to get lost,, I’ll often create my own deadline, usually allowing myself about a week. I’ve also learned that because of my health I can’t take on rush jobs. Last time I tried that, I worked my rear off for two days then ended up in bed for two days!

    • Thanks for the comment, Lori. Anti-crastinator is a new one to me! But I remember your type in high school — there were a couple of kids who always had projects done almost before they were assigned, it seemed!

      I’m glad you know your limits — landing in bed for a couple of days isn’t fun — or worth it, I imagine.

  5. I work the same way that you do, actually. I work extremely well under pressure, but I prefer to work under the conditions of having a deadline that I can leisurely stroll my way up to.

  6. Seems that when I have a project to do, I always seem to plan on planning for it so that I will not wait until the last minute to work on it, but it never seems to work out the way I planned and I am usually in a panic to complete just before the deadline. Not how I want to be, so I have something to work on 🙂

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