Some deadlines are immovable, others are self-imposed and ‘subject to change’. Last week I was working towards a static deadline – the Oakley Village Show wasn’t going to be rescheduled to allow me to finish a few extra projects! The Show is now over, all my unsold items (there are many) have been packed away and I’ve spent a few days dealing with the legacy of that event and pondering the nature of deadlines.
A quick search on Google asking the questions, ‘What is the psychology behind deadlines?’ and, ‘Are deadlines good for us?’ found me several short articles and a few long papers. From perusing these I’ve gleaned the following points:
‘Deadlines are part of goal setting and give an essential sense of purpose to what we do.’ Agreed: Without the deadline of the Show I wouldn’t have stuck to the task of finishing a quilt.
‘We are persistently bad at setting realistic deadlines, failing to draw on past experience we don’t learn from the length of time it took us to do a similar task and we consistently estimate timings using a perfect model rather than factoring in the inevitable hold-ups and delays that happen in life.’ Agreed: I finished machine sewing this tidy bucket just 35 minutes before leaving home to go to the Show and hand stitched the opening in the lining just as the Show was getting underway!
‘Readjusting deadlines is not a good thing – it results in loss of focus, more time wasting and encourages procrastinators to procrastinate!’ Agreed: As a self confessed procrastinator I can loose focus at the drop of a
hat deadline! But, if the deadline setting process is flawed (see above) then surely deadlines are going to have to be readjusted? Humm…
‘Deadlines do not aid creativity despite what people say.’ Agreed: If I can be bold enough to declare that I have, on occasion, had a ‘creative process’ then ‘yes’ in my experience setting a time limit on the process would not have brought out the best results. Back to the quilt I finished last week: it took me several days to think through what sort of quilting pattern to use, my thoughts progressed through several stages before I was happy to proceed. Although, once I had found the right solution, the deadline came back into play giving me the incentive to complete the quilt in the days before the Show.
As for the legacy of deadlines, well that can range from ‘crash and burn’ despair to ‘high five’ satisfaction! This time I’m in the latter category, having finished some quick projects and a quilt in time for the Show 🙂 In the days since I’ve felt pretty tired, though not too ‘flat’ and I’m driven to do ‘sorting’ – a legacy I’ll share in Part 2 of this post!
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some photos of Oakley Village Show and would really welcome your thoughts on deadlines.
Oh! and finally… Fans of Morse and Lewis might like to see this view of Christ Church College, Oxford, taken last Sunday on a very lovely day out with friends.