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Meme Monday - Working with Deadlines.....

 Hi, all!  It's been a while, since I posted a blog entry, and is directly related to today's Meme Monday theme, that gets assigned every first Monday of the month by SQLRockstar Thomas LaRock.  His theme, aptly entitled Working with Deadlines, pretty much sums up my recent days - there are many!  So, many, I just got the Meme Monday Memo today!

Here's just a short entry, so I can get back to meeting all those deadlines.  First, let me say, I try (try, being the operative word, to be more organized in a mulit-task oriented world, with multiple deadlines.  However, I will admit, that probably in many cases, the fact that there is a deadline, often leads me to put things off to the last minute - I mean afterall, if the deadline is next month, why start it today.  I have closer deadlines to meet!  And, so, in this regard, the deadline becomes the absolute motivator.  As you get closer to the "deadline", you become more focused and fixated on meeting the deadline. 

Some people avoid deadlines like the plague, others embrace it.  Are you the person who goes into cold sweats and curls up in a fetal position when you hear it?  Do you just procrastinate until the very last minute, Or, do you feel a sense of adventure and adrenalin rush. If you answered yes to one or more, then read on.

Afterall, the definition of the word "deadline", according to dictionary.com, is the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something or a line or limit that must not be passed. So, even a procrastinator would be hard-up to miss a deadline, which could have all sorts of consequences.

Therefore, I look at a deadline as an organizer, or more of a due date, rather than a "drop-dead" date of absolutism.  It would of course serve everyone better, if you could schedule your time in increments, preceding the "deadline", so you can gauge and pace yourself.  Yes, I have pulled the "all-nighter", but that was more in my college days, studying for finals.  I don't think that's a good strategy, and is sure to cause a lot of stress and burnout. 

So, while I have been often guilty of waiting until the deadline approaches, with a race to the finish line, my advice is to do what I say, and not what I do - unless you already do what I do, which I said I do, and that I am saying that you shouldn't do.  I'm just saying.  =P

For example, take this Meme Monday.  If I had not just caught this assignment today, I might have missed the deadline, published it tomorrow, in which case it wouldn't be a Meme Monday, especially if I wrote it on Tuesday - but I digress.

For all of you who are wondering then, what is it you should do to deal with deadlines, well, here are some hopefully helpful links that can ease your stress, and organize you a little more, so that you're deadline does not seem so IMPOSING!

Here are 8 Ways to Cope With a Tight Deadline, and I particularly like the first tip, which is to "ask for an extension".  I guess, if you read it, there is a legitimate time to ask for one, and valid reason.  However, if you expect that you can extend the deadline, everytime there is one, well, then it isn't really a deadline - just a theoretical date that you should of had something finished, but just couldn't meet the deadline.  This is like moving the goal post.  But, hey, if you are successful at it, then hats off to you!

Now, if you are one of those people who dread deadlines, then maybe you need to read, How to Deal With Deadline Panic.  Sounds almost like a clinical diagnosis, like Obesssive Neurosis, or Panic Attack.  Of course there are unreasonable bosses and managers with unreasonable deadlines that cannot possibly be met.  In that case, I would recommend that if you know early on the deadline cannot be met, to speak up, as the expectations will be high.  You could sit and wait for the possibility that priorities will change in the upper echelons of management - in which case, the deadline would be pushed back for you, but that's quite a risky and stress filled gamble.  Therefore, I'd recommend reading How to Deal With Unreasonable Deadlines at Work

I have at times unwittingly remained silent, which in effect, means you are agreeing to, and accepting, this unacceptable deadline.  PLEASE - DON'T DO THAT!!  It will only make you miserable and tense.  Is it really the fault of your manager when he slaps you on the back 2 days before the deadline when you haven't even done a thing yet, proclaiming "hey, how's that project going, I know you've done a great job on it!"  And, you certainly don't want him or her to ask in advance, "Mind if I take a quick peak before the "big" meeting!" 

My own sense of managers setting deadlines, is often they do not know the scope or what's involved in a particular project.  For example, I want you to build me a datawarehouse in the next two days.  Obviously, this is unrealistic, so my advice is to take notes, find out what needs to be done, and then come back with a more realistic estimate, that could be translated into a more realistic deadline.  You may need to do some due diligence before you can commit - but you want to make sure that any deadline, is not the end of your line at work.  Your boss may even appreciate all the data points that are needed before you have a deadline.

We all know how much stress and pressure a deadline can cause.  You may want to even check out the well-known Billy Joel song, called, "Pressure" -
"You have to learn to pace yourself - PRESSURE - You're just like everybody else - PRESSURE!....."

Alright, that's my Meme Monday for February - after all it's a short month, and I need to get back to my real deadlines.  Hope this helps!

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