Deadlines, Deadlines
April 10, 2022

As we are in the heart of our late winter/early spring busy season, I’ve been thinking often about deadlines.   Personally, I like deadlines and the structure they give projects.  I see deadlines as benchmarks and I like the feeling of achievement that comes from meeting them.  Perhaps that’s why I chose a profession defined by deadlines.  As our team members can attest, we have many dates circled on the calendar at ParenteBeard – all of which are critical to the success of our clients’ businesses.  These deadlines drive much of what we do as a firm.

Yet, Nolan Bushnell, the legendary entrepreneur who invented Atari and founded the successful Chuck E. Cheese children’s restaurant and arcade chain, once said, “The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.”  I’m not sure if that’s wholly true.  I respect that certain people work best under the feverish pressure of an impending deadline but I don’t believe that every great idea is thought of 24 hours before it’s due.  Many take months to develop into an idea that’s fully formed, vetted and ready for presentation. I know that because I see it here.  There is outstanding work that takes months, not hours, to deliver for our clients – and that’s a good thing.

No matter how often we talk about the importance of meeting deadlines and not procrastinating, we still live in a culture that lauds the last minute nature of nearly everything.  It’s a culture that thrives on a “Will I make it?” mentality and feels vindicated by the last second achievement.  For instance you can always find a line at the post office at 11:59 p.m. on April 15.

I am not one for the excitement of waiting until the last second and I work to instill that same discipline in our team members.  But I’m interested in why deadlines seem to scare us into delay.  And why is it that many find inspiration when up against the clock?

Are you a procrastinator or someone who prefers to work well in advance of deadlines?  Why? And if a procrastinator, do you think there is wisdom in Bushnell’s quote?

Thanks for stopping by.

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