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Earlier this week, I sent an email about a couple productivity hacks I’ve been using lately (ahem, the mechanical method). It spurred a challenge to go on Facebook Live and put those methods into practice…which I accepted.

In that video, I named my primary objective for the day, which was to create a personal roadmap. My problem was that I was being too lax with myself with deadlines.

My relationship to deadlines is complicated.

On one hand, I crush deadlines. When a date is set, I find a way to make it happen. On the other hand, I can resent deadlines for the pressure and stress they impose.

Monday I put a roadmap in place and I gave myself pretty aggressive timeline for the items on my to do list. Almost immediately, I felt pressure and anxiety from my perception of being behind (which was, again, self-imposed).

But after two days of stress and pressure, I got back ahead of pace.

And here’s the amazing thing that I didn’t anticipate: I actually felt a real sense of pride and relaxation.

By knowing my deadlines, what success looks like and where I should be, I removed any anxiety or guilt around doing things I enjoy. Around noon today when I realized I was ahead of schedule, I made some lunch, went for a run, and cleaned my apartment. Stress free, guilt free…all satisfaction.

This is the benefit of deadlines outside of pure productivity. By knowing what success looks like, you can liberate yourself from the guilt of relaxation.