I’ve never responded well to deadlines. If the time until the deadline is measured in weeks it’s okay. It’s practically theoretical. But as the time grows short I, more and more, feel like saying, “Screw this; I will not be a slave to a calendar.”
In the late 80s thru early 90s I worked at a job where every week there was an ever increasing level of panic over things that absolutely must be done before close of business Friday or else life as we know it would cease to exist, or some such dire threat. Invariably, when you finally finished the task and proudly and with much relief presented it to your manager, you would find that he didn’t care anymore. And if you didn’t finish it? He didn’t care. “Oh, Monday or Tuesday will be fine. Not a problem. Have a nice weekend.” This experience contributed greatly to my tendency to not take deadlines seriously.
Nowdays my deadlines are mostly self-imposed. They’re not even deadlines, really. They’re living lines. I move them around to whenever I need them to be. Once in a while there’s one that can’t be moved – like Christmas. I’m done with gift shopping but I still have things to do and it’s just a week and a day away and it’s starting to feel like that dreaded thing – a deadline! But then I think, What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t get everything done?” and realize that the answer is, “Nothing.” Nothing bad will happen if I don’t get everything done.
But I do think I will get everything done. I just have to resist the temptation to drop everything and say, “Screw this; I will not be a slave to a calendar.”