What to Do When It’s Not Ready

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.

Ship Anyway

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.