What are the consequences of waiting until the last second?


Each week I watch Great British Sewing Bee not just wondering who will win, but who will make a bad fabric choice, who will mess up, who will present something unfinished?

Experienced sewers – especially those experienced enough to be contestants in a national TV completion – shouldn’t do any of these things. Yet, week after week they present final pieces pinned together, hurried hems and wonky seams.

Of course we all know it’s the pressure of the competition that makes extremely capable people present inferior work. It doesn’t matter how skilled or how creative the contestants are, there isn’t time for mistakes, there isn’t time for perfection, sometimes there isn’t even time for competent sewing.

Great British Sewing Bee is a vivid example of what can happen when we don’t allow our work enough time. However, I’ve met many professional creative people who, even though they have months or weeks to do a job, don’t produce the goods unless they’re running last minute for the finish line.

  • Do you rush or pace your creative work?
  • How good is your finished ‘product’ when you rush to finish?
  • If you’re going to tackle something last minute, how do you ensure you do it well?

7 thoughts on “What are the consequences of waiting until the last second?

  1. I have always been a person who is motivated by deadlines and my performance benefits from the pressure. It has to be a realistic deadline, though. What I’ve noticed these last two years is that, when it comes to creative work, I am not needing the time pressure. I am enjoying working consistently, over a period of time. This way, I have more time to reflect on the process. It’s new for me, but is feels like a natural progression in my creative path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! I think you hit the nail on the head! Twice actually. Realistic deadlines are invaluable. What I don’t understand – although know a lot of people do – is setting a realistic deadline then ignoring it until it becomes unrealistic then working in a state of frenzy to hit it. And so good to hear you don’t need time pressure on your creative work. I’m sure this allows you to be more creative as well as enjoy the process. Good for you! 🙂


  2. I like achievable deadlines – it helps me to focus.

    Creative people aren’t short of ideas, I find one idea will rapidly over take another, its very easy to get clouded if your target allows too much thinking time.

    When I am working on a project it can become an obsession – everything outside the work becomes an irritating distraction, including eating, drinking and sleeping sometimes! Having too much time means I will keep on refining and tweaking, over and over – creating limits is essential.

    Do you rush or pace your creative work?
    I pace it – I get stressed if it can’t be done properly – it is just frustrating. However, some creative projects need lots of time to evolve.

    For example I am working on a cardigan right now – its a project that has been going on for over a year., but it is my relaxation. Its evolving because I don’t use patterns – I have knitted and unpicked several times because I changed my mind. I have an overall goal in my mind of what I would like it to be, but I am in no rush. Its beautiful sensual wool to work with, I do it in the evenings to relax and I had to re-think when I ran out of one colour and could not find any more. I would hate it if I had to finish it in two weeks, because it would become something I ‘should’ be doing rather than something I enjoy doing. I would have to make snap decisions and creativity is not like following a recipe. I don’t feel the need to have it done by a certain date, but I won’t start another knitting project until it is finished.

    Another project is an embroidered diver – its been on hold for a while – I have a workshop looming. It wasn’t until last week that I realised what I wanted to do with it. It has been months but it will be finished this week because it needs to be to promote the course. Maybe I needed the deadline to push me to make a decision – I am not sure. But once I had spotted some ricrac the idea took off.

    How good is your finished ‘product’ when you rush to finish?
    I allow enough time – I have learned over the years to enjoy the process – mostly because in my early days of sewing, I was never happy with what I had created when I simply focussed on the finish line. It all then became a waste of time and more importantly – resources.

    If you’re going to tackle something last minute, how do you ensure you do it well?
    I usually work backwards and roughly sketch out where I need to go – it works well and I always schedule in extra time for ‘errors or mistakes’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Thanks for your comprehensive reply. You always sound as if you have a great relationship with your projects, understanding what needs to be taken in hand and what you simply need to enjoy and allow to evolve. I have to admit to becoming obsessive with projects sometimes – although this is often a good thing. And I never forget to eat! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Deadlines – What’s your approach? | The Creativity Cauldron

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