This morning, I got back from visiting family in California. I had a helluva good time.
- Stories were told.
- Beer was drunk.
- Almonds were munched.
- Westerns were watched (My introduction to the genre, believe it or not: Chisum and The Outlaw Josey Wales).
- Tractors were driven.
- German shepherds were scratched behind the ears.
But blogs weren’t written.
It’s my fault, for sure. I could have carved out time, but I didn’t. Now I’ve got an 11:59 PM deadline looming, and it’s coming up on 9:00 PM. What to do?
Call in sick, or ship anyway?
Call in Sick
The problem with calling in sick is that it establishes a precedent:
If circumstances are bad enough, I don’t really have to follow through.
At first, the circumstances are defensible:
- I’ve been traveling.
- I got, like, no sleep.
- The post I’d started is a big one. I want to do this topic justice, and I can’t get it ready in time.
Now, we’re all different. For me, giving an inch is the first step to surrendering a mile. If I give in, I’ll soon be telling myself:
- It’s been a weird week. I’ve just felt off.
- I didn’t really get enough sleep last night.
- This post isn’t, like, where it needs to be. I’ll finish it tomorrow and post a day late. No one will notice.
Not a good precedent.
Seth Godin’s idea of shipping on time no matter what sidesteps all this negotiating.
Step 1: Set a deadline.
Step 2: When the deadline hits, ship what’s done.
In other words:
The act of shipping on time is more valuable then creating perfect content.
Here’s what I’ve noticed: on this blog, the posts that get the most clicks and generate the most discussion are often somewhat hastily-written.
If you know a deadline is non-negotiable, the deadline itself forces you to comply. If you’re shipping no matter what, you might as well create value.
Don’t bend your deadlines. Ship.