8 Sure-Fire Ways To Survive Dream Crunch Time

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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The only thing standing between you and your dream is crunch time.

You know what I mean.

It’s that dreaded period of time when you must do the hard work required to make your dream happen – the plethora of commitments, deadlines, physical or mental work – or all – compressed together in what always seems like never enough time, money or help.

Do you have what it takes to push through your crunch time to make your dream come true?

You can only realize your dream by dealing effectively with your dream “crunch time.”

John Wooden, college basketball’s most successful coach, advises, “The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move . . . failure to take initiative is often the biggest mistake of all.”

There are certain things that you can do to make sure you launch your dream and push through your crunch time.

Here are 8 Sure Fire Ways To Survive Your Dream Crunch Time

1. Make a list of all the things you think you need to do to make your dream a reality.
In order for this list to work you need to use specific action verbs and include as many details as you’ll need to get the job done. For example, part of my dream plan to make this website a destination site for dreamers is to provide books, downloads, and a social network section to interact with other dreamers.

The old website design did not support these initiatives. It was originally created to fix a problem that no longer exists. So one of my tasks on my list was:

Spend 20 minutes each day reviewing websites you like to determine the best design to support your initiatives.

Next on the list was:

Make your decision by August 15th, and launch on Labor Day weekend.

2. Break down your list some more.
Be sure you are not confusing your to-do’s with goals or projects. My goal is to make this site a destination website, my to-dos are all the little action steps that make it happen like:

Each week write 1 blog owner in your niche and pitch them a guest post by Sunday night


Edit the first chapter of your ebook by Monday morning.


Set up eJunkie account for ebook by Wednesday night 9pm.

You will be amazed at how much you get done if you approach your dream in this way.

3. Prepare mentally for your crunch moments.
I knew two months ago that I was remodeling the website over Labor Day weekend, taking my edited ebook into InDesign to begin the process of creating the final book for uploading to eJunkie and Amazon.

I then told everyone in my life that the two weeks leading up to and Labor Day weekend would make me pretty much unavailable.

I exercised, got plenty of rest and had a list of everything I need to complete by Monday morning – no excuses.

4. Enlist the help of those you trust.
Jim Rohn says, “To solve any problem, there are three questions to ask yourself: First, what could I do? Second, what could I read? And third, who could I ask?”

In the Transtheoretical Model of Change (or the Stages of Change model) the term “helping relationships” refers to people who assist others in making positive change. When you are heading towards crunch time, ask for help. I asked Heather if I could go hibernate in the office and write. She said yes and actually came into work too.

Periodically when I’d swear, she’d look up and say, “Need help?” and help me work through the latest hurdle. Remy offered to handle the edits on my ebook so I could move forward in the design.

Laurie reminded me to get up every two hours and walk around, stretch and book a massage. Rayne offered feedback and support. My ex husband worked through the final draft, offered support, then said, “Cath, this is really good.” My son rubbed my knees when they ached from sitting too long and brought me water and tea when I looked like I was dying.

Ask for help from people you trust, and ask them to hold you accountable to your deadlines.

You do have deadlines, right?

5. Eliminate your distractions.
Look at what you need to accomplish, then identify distractions which keep you from moving forward.

Remove them now.

I went without cable television for 8 years because I wanted to teach my son how to sit down and watch just one thing. We watched rental movies on Friday and Saturday nights. We enjoyed all manner of foreign films and documentaries, laughed at animated characters and turned our TV watching time into a shared event. The rest of the time we enjoyed music, or just plain quiet. It was amazing what I accomplished during those 8 years.

TV and the Internet (hello Facebook and Twitter), texting, cell phones and email are big distractions. Are they preventing you from doing what needs to get done to launch your dream?

Even dating can be a distraction and get in the way of your dream. Do your neighbors want to hang out and drink wine every Saturday evening? Will this stop you from finishing the last part of your dream?

Can you temporarily give them up for the sake of your dream?

6. Organize your work area or “dream area”.
Make sure you have a special place designated for your dream. For Erma Bombeck it was a wood plank and cinder boxes in the corner of her bedroom which represented her writing desk and writing space. Nothing but writing materials were allowed on this sacred place.

For me, it’s my kitchen table and believe it or not, we don’t eat at it. I have also made it a rule that Sundays are my writing day. Everyone knows not to bother me when I am sitting at the kitchen table on Sundays. Make sure this area has everything you need to work on your dream – WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS.

7. Watch your excuses.
Do you find yourself saying things like, “I’m really tired this weekend, so I’ll work on that next week” or “I had to drive so and so to an appointment and it took too long” or “I didn’t feel like working on it today.” You need to watch your excuses. In order to make it through a crunch period you cannot allow yourself off the hook.

You need to find that place, that thing that makes you get up from the couch and do what needs to be done.

Seth Godin’s book, “The Dip” was a real slap in the face for me. His voice rattles around in my head, quoting his books.

Yes, this is how a dreamer thinks.

These are the quotes from the Dip that make me ignore my excuses –

“It’s human nature to quit when it hurts. But it’s that reflex that creates scarcity. The challenge is simple: Quitting when you hit the Dip is a bad idea. If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested. Quit in the Dip often enough and you’ll find yourself becoming a serial quitter, starting many things but accomplishing little. Simple: If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.

The most common response to the Dip is to play it safe. To do ordinary work, blameless work, work that’s beyond reproach. When faced with the Dip, most people suck it up and try to average their way to success.”

8. Assess and Revise Your Goals
Frequently review your progress on your dream steps and either reward yourself for goals you’ve accomplished or revise your list and adjust what’s not working. It is important to check to see if you’re on the right track.

Let’s say you launch a website and notice visitors quickly leaving your call to action page, then you know there is something wrong in your message, or design, or both. You see that you need to revise the page. It doesn’t need to be personal. It’s just feedback you can use to keep yourself on track – sort of a GPS system for your dream.

When it feels like there aren’t enough hours to get it done, and you reach a point where you think you can’t handle everything you need to do to launch your dream, just take a deep breath and keep these survival tips in mind.

Besides, you can always come back here and see how we’ve survived.

Keep on dreaming,


Catherine HughesCatherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. Someday, she would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Monday mornings.

  • Toni Schram

    You’d make a great teacher! Thanks for the pointers on how to survive crunch time.

  • Bradley

    One word.. Great! Two words.. Very awesome! Three words.. I love it!

  • Cath, awesome, awesome, awesome post. So true! Great reminder that THIS is exactly what I need to do right now to finish my book by 10/10/10… Will print this, post it, follow the eight steps and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

    Love ya!

    p.s. LOVE the story about Jack Canfield… 126 publishers… WOW. Perseverance and believing in the vision and just staying in inspired action is what it’s all about… Love! me

  • Mariska Smith

    Be sure to get enough sleep during crunch time because continuous work reduces cognitive function 25% for every 24 hours. Multiple consecutive overnighters have a severe cumulative effect. Take care of yourselves and get plenty of rest so you don’t make too many mistakes. I like the new look. M

  • Christy Latupeirissa

    These are some great pointers. Crunch time goes better when the “crunch” is about enriching others and doing it for joy as well as doing what you love. They are all separate steps, yet they all tie together at the same time, and one sort of leads into another. Thanks for the post.

  • Rich

    This is a terrific post about surviving crunch time Cath. I like the site. It looks great! I am anxious to see this book of yours. I Hope you are doing well. Cheers! Rich

  • Terry

    For all you do for everyone, I think I can safely speak for us and say, we are honored to help. We believe you deserve to have your dreams come true in all of this and no one is more dedicated to the quest than you. T

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Thanks. I should add how coffee helps the walking dead, because that’s how you’ll feel during crunch time. This type of exhaustion is different though. As I left Heather’s yesterday after 8 solid hours on the ebook, I found myself singing this stupid song on the radio – you know a real Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire singing Free Falling moment – and I started laughing at myself. then I realized how happy I was – even in all that is happening around me – I was blissfully happy. So I know I am on the right track. Thank you all for your wonderful help!


      • Remy G

        Crunch time is crazy. Very motivating. You are moving in the right direction, and we are right there behind you, propping you up. All the pieces are in place, and we are putting them together. What did the labor nurse say to me, “slow and steady wins the race” -its true…and I finally get it. xox rem

        • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

          Jack Can­field and Mark Vic­tor Hansen pitched Chicken Soup for the Soul to over 126 pub­lish­ers. Every pub­lisher told them they should forget about it and write some­thing else that peo­ple will purchase.

          They did not give up and the refused to let anyone tell them their dream idea wouldn’t work. They kept saying that they just needed to find the right publisher.

          It’s a hell of a hill, but one worth climbing.