Screenwriter John August dives into the negative effects of decision fatigue, a concept that goes hand-in-hand what I’m going to label Deadline Fatigue.

The latter concept isn’t all that common, but we all know the feeling.

Too many deadline-driven spikes in your stress levels — placed end to end to end — lead to all sorts of unhappy side effects, including an inability to make good decisions (also irritability, tingling in the lips, sudden brain death and worse — SEO article writing).

Add the increasingly common stressor of multitasking (no, you’re reallynotgettingmoredone), and it’s remarkable today’s copywriters — who suffer more deadlines than most writers — haven’t simply dropped dead at their keyboards.

(It’s possible I dropped dead at mine several hours ago, and my brain just hasn’t caught up with the reality.)

I’m only slightly tongue-in-cheek on this one; stack those deadlines like cordwood and you will eventually lose the ability to make good decisions, which is probably why I wrote that fairly terse email to a client who was busily engineering a series of last-minute disasters on a web project.

It’s possible to make people stop doing dumb things without suggesting they’re wholly incompetent, and a more relaxed copywriter might have recognized that.

Or not. (See what I mean about decision making?)

Of course, recognizing a problem is the first step to alleviating it; I now notice that several clients cluster deadlines at the end of the month, presumably because they want to hit the wholly artificial beginning of the month milestone.

This month is deadlines. Next month we practice a little avoidance.

In mass media entertainment terms, every action movie has that moment when a character’s fingertips barely brush the hand of salvation before the long plunge begins (have I got my action cliches right?).

This, for me, is that moment.

Today? More caffeine. Tomorrow? I sleep.

Keep writing (but take it easy on the deadlines), Tom Chandler.