Thursday, July 17, 2014

Warning: Deadlines in schedule are closer than they appear

Time is not my friend. To tell you the truth, we haven't been on speaking terms for years. I can sit with a piece of paper and pencil and map out my entire day--carefully thinking about how long it will take to drive places, and which order things need to go in--and still mess up and realize I need to be in three places at once.  It's almost like time is playing games with me, contracting and expanding when I need it to just sit still.

The other day, my son had a dentist appointment at 2:00. All the other families with foreign exchange students were meeting at the lake, and I was sure I had plenty of time. There wasn't a lot of room for error, so I carefully thought it out. Yep. There was time. Then we got there, and it was nearly time to go. How did that happen? I'd thought it out so carefully. Sure, my kids took longer to get out the door than I'd accounted for, but really...that long? So I figured out when we needed to leave, but apparently I didn't take into account how long it would take to walk back to the car, and we ended up careening down the road to make up for lost time. (Even given my issues with time, I rarely careen. But my dentist's office is one of those rare places where you never have to wait in the office. If you're ten minutes late, you've got to reschedule. So a smidgen of careening ensued.)

I can sit down at the computer for one very important, very quick reason, and get up two hours later with no memory of where the time just went, and without having accomplished my original purpose. The only explanation that makes sense is that time just folded in on itself.

There is only one thing that saves me from being at time's absolute mercy. And that is a deadline.

Deadline (n): /'dedˌlīn/1. the latest time or date by which something should be completed. 2. the boundary drawn around a prison which prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot.

I love that second one, because it is a brilliant metaphor for the way I feel when I am approaching a deadline.

So, stop what you are doing and make yourself a deadline. Not convinced? Don't take my word for it. Here are several quotes about deadlines. I admit that a couple of these quotes are anti-deadline. How do deadlines make you feel?

A goal is a dream with a deadline. 
--Diana Scharf

Deadlines refine the mind. They remove variables like exotic materials and processes that take too long. The closer the deadline, the more likely you'll start thinking waaay outside the box.
--Adam Savage

Deadlines aren't bad. They help you organize your time. They help you set priorities. They make you get going when you might not feel like it.
--Harvey Mackay

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
--Douglas Adams

“I am a person who works well under pressure. In fact, I work so well under pressure that at times, I will procrastinate in order to create this pressure.” 
― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

“The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.”

“Procrastination is reading all the quotes on this page when you have a huge report due tomorrow.”
--R. T. A. Birektt 

“Like many people, I started blogging out of an urgent need to procrastinate.”
--Harold Ross, The New Yorker

 ‘Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.’ Under the influence of this pestilent morality, I am forever letting tomorrow’s work slop into today’s and doing painfully and nervously today what I could do quickly and easily tomorrow.”
--J. A. Spender (The Comments of Bagshot)

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.”
--Francis Bacon, Sr, 1561-1626

“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
--Winston Churchill (November, 1936)

1 comment:

Got an opinion? Use it! Remember... be silly, be honest, and be nice/proofread.