Five Top Tips to Conquer Deadline Drag

Five Top Tips to Conquer Deadline Drag

© 2014 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

Your deadline looms. You sit at your computer, your yellow pad, or your typewriter, and the words aren’t flowing. You know your general topic and the length your piece or chapter needs to be. You know everything you need to know to write this piece. The clock is ticking. And the words aren’t flowing. You’re starting to worry you won’t get the piece done on time. Your shoulders are tight. Your chocolate barometer is going off. The idea of reaching for candy is getting tough to ignore. Still, the words aren’t flowing.

Perhaps today your thoughts are like dozens of butterflies: beautiful to watch but impossible to organize. You have plenty of them, but they refuse to line up in useful order and structure themselves into your piece. Tick tock, tick tock. Those words are just not flowing. Your brain is resisting getting that piece done. You’re stuck! You have that dread condition: Deadline Drag.

© Berc-Fotolia

© Berc-Fotolia

You need to shift into Go Mode, into focus and flow. But how? Most advice you see on writers’ block – and on being stuck in general – is about using your thoughts to control your thoughts. But when you are in brain lock, you can’t get hold of your thoughts to control your thoughts! It is especially counterintuitive to look to solve Deadline Drag with words, when your verbal ability is clearly in Park. If you’re a masochist, perhaps you might find it great fun to dig yourself deeper into Deadline Drag by following the circular logic of trying to control your thoughts mentally. This will be your end result, because your brain is actually depleted at this moment.

But wait! There are very different and very effective ways to shift from Park into Drive! You can use the physical to help your mind flourish. Here are five top techniques to try.

  • The Shoulder Shift. Roll your shoulders up and forward, then around, slowly, stretching, for one minute. Now roll them up and back and around, slowly, stretching, for one minute. Notice the warming in your ankles and feet. You have just opened up the circulation of your whole body, which will reach the brain in just one more minute. Within one minute, notice a warming sensation flowing up the back of your neck. This is the flow of energy that is recharging your energy-starved brain. You may notice your optimism rising already.
  • The Three-Breath Boost. Imagine your breath beginning at the top of your head. Exhale slowly, from the top of your head, through the front of your body, down to your toes, and out through your toenails. Don’t worry about inhaling for this technique. Exhale again, and feel the stress leave your mind and body through the tops or tips of your toes. Notice your shoulders and back relaxing as you do this. Exhale one more time and feel the stress leaving the backs of your legs. In another minute, notice a light-headed sensation flowing into your brain from your neck. This is oxygen, and it is restarting your brain.
  • The Preposterous Posture. For one minute, find and stretch into the opposite position from that in which you usually write. So if you normally sit with your back curved over, your arms over the desk, and your head bent toward the screen or page, unwind that. Lift your head, slowly stand, and let your arms hang at your sides. Now slowly lift your arms over your head, stretching all those stiff back, shoulder, and neck muscles as your arms rise. Extend your fingertips as high as they will go. Lift your upper chest toward your fingertips, and lift your chin. Now look at the ceiling or sky, and hold for one slow breath. When you gently lower your arms, notice the mild tingling all over your body. This is energy, oxygen, and circulation. Your brain will be with you in a moment.
  • The Chocolate Churnover. Earlier, were you craving chocolate? Now is the time to munch an ounce of dark chocolate to help your brain. The antioxidants and theobromine in the chocolate will lift your energy and metabolism. Stimulating the tongue and mouth by eating dark chocolate lifts the energy of both the Fire and Earth Meridians. The bitter flavor in the chocolate stimulates the Fire Meridian, and the sweetness energizes the Earth Meridian. If you heat your chocolate in almond or dairy milk, drinking your hot chocolate will warm the entire digestive system, which stimulates brain function, increasing clarity. Also, the potassium in either form of milk will assist brain optimization. Now you have churned your whole energy system, and it is pumping in support of you.
  • The Latte Lift. If you are a latte lover, try this trick. Drink your favorite latte and relax in your recliner or lie down for 20 minutes, having set a timer. You get a break, and as you’re rising, the antioxidants and caffeine (or in tea lattes, L-Theanine, theobromine, and theophylline) are just hitting your blood-brain barrier. Now you’re rested and refreshed, yet your blood, oxygen, and energy are flowing well.

It’s a whole new world, now: you no longer have to dread Deadline Drag! Play around with these techniques and make them part of your regular writing practice. You need never be stuck again. Going forward, you’ll beat all those deadlines and soar as the writer you are meant to be.

NOTE: Kebba typically publishes on the 2nd of the month, but unforeseen circumstances detoured this post from her regular posting schedule.

Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and author of the award-winning Kebba booksbook, Discover the Secret Energized You, as well as the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, is available through her office. Just email for more info. Like this article? Buy Kebba’s books by clicking the links! Reach the writer at

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