What would you do if you had to finish X in Y days?

Illustration of a an abstract mountain made up of checkboxes.

What do you have on your goals list that you want to do but keep putting off? Last month I finally started one of mine. A little social accountability and an arbitrary deadline was all I needed to kill the resistance of procrastination and perfectionism.

For me, I have wanted to do a bunch of stuff with this site you are reading, the first one being to create a logo along with weaving in a bunch of other design changes for months now as part of a bigger desire/goal to get back into graphic design and digital art. My motivations for this were sound. One reason you procrastinate on something is because you don’t really want/need to do it, but that didn’t apply here.

This kept coming up as something I needed to do but I didn’t know where to start. The goal seemed too big.

“Parkinson’s Law says that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”


Just creating a logo was supposed to have required me to get up to speed on new tools (it had been a while since I had done any serious vector art) by learning Affinity Designer (or Adobe Illustrator or Procreate or [insert tool here]) which would certainly require a few hours to go through some videos and tutorials. I needed to do more research on which tool to use, where to find the best tutorials, etc.

Then, last month, I finally started! 🔥

I started because I a) made my task very specific and b) gave myself a short timeframe to do it. I said I was going to create a logo in less than 30 days in my amplify and reduce goals and in actuality, I did it in just a week (or less).

I had to use what I knew because I didn’t have extra time…

Scanned image of drawing of a logo in a notebook.
I created the drawing in my notebook and then scanned it in

I had to use what I had because I didn’t have extra time….

Interface of Affinity Photo showing various panels and settings.
I know how to use layers, create and manipulate paths, etc and I already had Affinity Photo, which was fine for the task
Showing layers of logo art in Affinity Photo. Animated GIF.
The tools have changed, but the concepts are the same, just gotta take it one layer at a time.

I published the thing and now am starting on the next thing.

It’s not perfect, but, I didn’t have anything to show for the past 12 months and now I do. I’m happy with that.

Try this technique next time you are stuck on something you know you really want to do.

🗒 The title of my post came from these 8 questions. For a similar exercise, see how I’m practicing my analytical reading by giving myself one week per chapter on Radical Acceptance.

🖼️ The featured image at the top of this post is a sketch from my pocket notebook using a Uniball Eye Micro pen.

Comments welcome!

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