28 April 2009


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

I love deadlines too. Although my favourite thing about deadlines is that it feels very satisfying to strike a line through them. They preserve my sense that the world has order and meaning.

However, the real world is never so clean-cut. Deadlines come in many shapes and sizes, some are flexible like taffy and others are hard as steel. Some come with invisible variables or sinkholes just steps before.

Now that I've made the switch from copywriting to project coordination, my days revolve much more closely around an intricate network of due dates leading up to soft and hard deadlines.

I'm grateful for my academic background which trained me to treat deadlines like task-masters. Not so long ago, I entered the real world equipped with a near Chicken Little approach to missing a deadline.

Fortunately, I now have a reasonable amount of experience with professional deadlines, so I've tempered my tactics and I'm grateful for that too.

Of course, from time to time (increasing in frequency over the years), more of Adams' words come to mind: "Don't Panic."

These days, I treat deadlines like white chocolate mochas; I'll grab one every chance I get, but sometimes, I'll just have to wait - or settle for coffee whitener.

I've often wondered at what point I'll be prompted to cut off the back of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, tape it to a ping pong paddle, and keep it handy to flick at anyone succumbing to terror at the prospect of the sky falling after a missed deadline.

But remember, I love deadlines. You should too. They mean you won't be working on the same ad, brochure, web page, or article forever. And this is a good thing.

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