Consider this scenario: During a typical week, you set goals and deadlines based on the assumption that you’ll be able to complete 10 units of creative work. And that you complete four units of creative work in a typical week.
Consider setting goals and deadlines for yourself during light weeks so that you can complete, say, six units of creative work. And that you do four units of creative work during those eight weeks.
It’s clear from this scenario that the goals and deadlines are doing nothing but stressing you out. You can set as many deadlines and goals as you want, but it’s the four units of creative effort that matter.
Let’s refer to those four creative units as your red line. It’s the only line that matters when it comes to getting things done. Those goals and deadlines become judgmental instruments that you use to blame yourself and worry about things you don’t need to worry about.
Let’s use this in the real world: what is your red line? Or are you evaluating your effectiveness based on some vague plan that believes you can complete ten units of creative work when you can only complete four?
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us waste a lot of time, energy, and attention attempting to make the plan follow our performance rather than the other way around.