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W is for Writing under Pressure – Lessons from Don Draper.

We're in Don Draper's office (or his bedroom, or his latest favorite swanky bar). The most important client pitch since the last most important client pitch is coming up in hours, and Don's got nothing.

Then... wait... an idea. The scent of an idea. A couple of words, an image. Suddenly Don is scribbling on napkins.

You know he'll be frantically working through the night, but by god he just might pull this off!

There's a reason that all rings true. As a scary deadline draws near, your brain gets a rush of adrenalin. Not only does adrenalin speed your motor responses, it overrides the "censor" function in your brain.

(That little nagging voice inside that yells "Dumb!" every time you manage to write a sentence? Adrenalin shuts that voice right down.)

That's why so many of us work more freely and efficiently when we're down to the wire.

So - why not trick your brain? You'll never get quite the rush you'll get from knowing a real deadline is hours away. But set a night you plan to have a paper done (well before it's due). Set alarms. Get concert tickets for you and a friend, and make your friend promise to give yours away if you don't hit your deadline. Then work free and fast as if you were Don Draper and your whole career depended on it.