The power of deadlines – Christopher John Payne

The power of deadlines

This is a post I wrote for a brand new site called Find The Edge. This post will be deleted or amended as soon as that goes live to avoid duplicate content…

A number of years ago I created a CD set called The Effort-Free Life System which looks like this…

Effort-Free Life System

It consisted of a step-by-step process to help people go from struggle and resistance to a

life filled with more ease and grace.

I decided to publish a monthly newsletter to go with it.

I don’t know what I was thinking: I was already very busy running a full-time mail order business, LifeTools, and now I was adding more work! 🙂

My local printer needed me to get the artwork to them by noon at the absolute latest on the third Friday of the month.

For the first 2 weeks of each month I was very busy writing sales copy, liaising with my team, running teleconference calls, organising joint ventures, and so on.

There was very little time to write and lay out a newsletter!

When it got to 3 days before my deadline I knew that I had to get the newsletter created.

I got my PA to stop all phone calls apart from emergencies.

I switched off email. 

And I wrote, and wrote and wrote. 

In those final 3 days I put together a 12-page, 2-colour, 12-000-word newsletter using QuarkXpress (now I use Adobe InDesign).

Each issue consisted of tons of text, photos, cartoons, custom graphics, and more.

I had no time to think.

I only had time to act.

I didn’t write all 12,000 words: I wrote about 9,000 of them.

I got other people to contribute the remaining 3,000 – but I needed to edit their words.

So in those 3 days I wrote 3,000 words a day on personal development and business.

And each month I was able to email the newsletter to the printer in the nick of time – or sometimes an hour or 2 after their absolute deadline.

There was no way I would throw the towel in and quit: at its peak we were printing thousands of copies of the newsletter, and selling it for £19.95 (US$29.95) a month with a CD containing an interview with a personal development expert or a talk by me.

That’s a lot of revenue I wasn’t going to walk away from!

It would be great if I could tell you that after a few issues I learned to spread the work over the entire month. I did a little.

But mostly I created every issue in the last 3 days.

This went on for 45 issues: nearly 4 years! 

Here’s a photo of me with some of the issues I created…

Christopher John Payne

At the end of those 4 years I had written about 400,000 words.

I feel very proud of my achievement, and my loyal subscribers seemed to really appreciate the content too.

As I look back, I have a funny feeling that, if I hadn’t created all those issues, and achieved all that sales revenue, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have achieved anything more in another area of the business: my other work would have simply expanded into those 3 days I allocated.

Here’s a few takeaways for you…

  • Create an ambitious ‘stretch’ goal for yourself in your business – or even in your health
  • Have a regular deadline that you can’t wiggle out of
  • No matter how challenging it may seem to meet that goal, go for it anyway: in most cases you’ll surprise and delight yourself

One last thing…

The Effort-Free Life System CD set is now rather out of date. I’m working on Version 2.0. I now love working to tight deadlines. If you’d like to support me to get this finished and launched, get in touch! 🙂


Chris Payne helps clients design winning products, designs sales funnels, rewrites all sales copy, provides webinar critiques, designs high-end mastermind programs, and more.