Deadlines: We have a love/hate relationship with them. For some of us, having a deadline on a project boosts our productivity, empowers us to reach our goals, and endues us with a sense of responsibility to which we are honor-bound.
For others, a deadline is a casual thing… like the rules that govern whether or not you wear white shoes after Labor Day. It’s more of a guideline, or a suggestion…
In other words, failure to honor a deadline makes you a pirate. Which is only cool in Disneyland.
Did you see that historical definition? It’s called a “deadline” because crossing it means someone is going to want to kill you, literally or figuratively…
Failure to meet a deadline has repercussions that resonate far beyond the individual who comes up short of time. When deadlines are missed, everyone up (or down, depending on your perspective of how important you are) in the chain of productivity is forced into overtime, which affects profit margins, employee happiness, and customer satisfaction… not to mention the fact projects submitted after deadline are far more likely to suffer from egregious errors that aren’t caught until it’s too late to correct them.
I’m not talking about a once-in-a-while unusual situation or rare occurrence, I’m talking to repeat offenders. People who consistently ignore deadlines are people who are just inconsiderate of others. Simply put, they consider the time and energy of others less valuable than their own time/energy. Missed deadlines put everyone out of sync.
I used to be late for everything: meetings, appointments, church, work, you name it. My perpetually punctual spouse told me I was being inconsiderate of others’ time. I pooh-poohed his argument. Now I realize he was right. I was being inconsiderate. In the back of my mind, the “party” didn’t start until I arrived, so everyone else might as well wait. My more “mature” self recognizes the selfishness and narcissism in that attitude. Ew. I don’t even LIKE that person… (And if you are one I made wait, I’m sorry.)
My point? If you’re given a deadline, abide by it. Not out of fear of death (although you never know what might happen if you push that editor or manager too far)…
…but out of a sense of honor and respect and basic consideration for others.
And that’s my rant for today.