Friday 4 June 2021

Blogjune Day 1- on deadlines

It's June again, and this blog post is prompted by Con, snail, and Kathryn...

I could be forgiven for letting #blogjune slip by me last year, but it's actually been four years since I last participated. My life has changed in oh so many ways since then, that I feel like there's enough that I can catch up on from the intervening years that will fill the month.

Speaking of catching up... I'm starting this series three days behind schedule. Time to set myself some deadlines, I think!

My working life is currently dominated by writing deadlines, and true to form, I'm already behind, but determined to catch up before my tardiness impacts on anybody else's workflows.

Deadlines are a funny thing, aren't they? My usual practice is to set deadlines that allow a couple of days flexibility, so that I can chase things up, or accommodate the occasional spanner in the works.

The problem is, once my reputation for flexible deadlines precedes me, everybody knows that when I set them a deadline, a couple of days late isn't going to end the world. I react by offsetting future deadlines by a few days, and before we know it, I've set a whole lot of deadlines that don't actually represent the timeframe in which I actually need work done by.

And then there are those who want to know, 'Yeah, but what's the actual deadline. You know, the absolute deadline that you actually need stuff by?'

Fair question.

I'd love to work in a world where we only work by actual deadlines. ie if you don't meet this deadline, then there will be actual consequences (probably not actual death, but at least death stares). None of this mucking around dancing around arbitrary dates, running on the assumption that we're all equally as unable to exercise discipline in getting our jobs done... but to err is human, and to ignore the fallibility of human behaviour is to set oneself up for failure.

So, my deadline to get back on track will be this Sunday - you can expect another five posts by then.


  1. How do you find having to work to deadlines? Is it stressful, or does having definite deadlines for things make some things easier? (eg you always know what you should be doing, even if you don't always manage to...)

    1. Oh, deadlines are an absolute necessity for me. I find them super useful for planning work and managing expectations. I always break big jobs down into smaller tasks, each with their own deadlines.

      Of course, half the time, the plan has to go out the window, in which case I need to think more creatively to get the job done... but the rest of the time, deadlines ensure that things get done in a timely fashion, and help me make my instructions clear when I'm managing a team project.