If you didn’t have a deadline would you be putting in as much work as you are doing right now? Or like me, are you the kind of person who works better with deadlines? I am currently facing a one month deadline to submit the first draft of my PhD thesis. I have known pressure before but this time it is intensified .
Are deadlines a curse or a blessing? I have a few thoughts on that:
If it pushes me to work more diligently than I would on a normal day, then bring on the deadline.
Some of us really struggle to work without a little nudge. Deadlines help me to organise myself and my work in a meaningful way. PhD programs usually have a lot of deadlines and because the student is pretty much doing independent research, the deadlines help to give them a timeline. I was told that my first thesis draft would be due in December 2018 back when I started in 2016. But like most people, I felt that was a long way off and I did not feel the pressure of it, until now. Just a little over a month to the deadline. Send help!!
It’s a different story when I am the one setting the deadline and when I have to meet someone’ else’s deadline.
Deadlines that I set for myself are usually meant to motivate and not put me under pressure. Someone else’s deadline comes with apprehension because failure to meet that deadline might have consequences. If it is a job, your boss may expect that you meet project deadlines because failure to do so affects your performance ratings. My own deadlines might be based on meeting some personal targets e.g. that desired weight so I can fit into that dress by New Years’ or something. There is pressure, but the chances of me being penalised for not meeting said deadline are slim.
Chasing deadlines can ruin relationships or at least stall them for a period.
When the work piles up and deadlines are looming, the tendency is often to shut out the world and focus on meeting that deadline. In my little corner of the world I have already let my friends know that I am in hibernation until I submit my thesis. I have asked not to be invited to any social events because I grew tired of making excuses for my absence. The danger with that is people may start to think that you are selfish and you think the world revolves around you. Chances are that by the time you meet that deadline, there will be another one, just as urgent, waiting for you. So when does it end? If you cannot make time for your social relationships, they will either die or people get tired of waiting on you to finish your priorities and they may find people who make time for them in their ‘busy schedule’. So, yes chasing deadlines is not always a good thing if it makes us shut out the people we care about. There will always be another deadline, relationships matter!!
As for me, I don’t know how I am going to fix this one because I feel overwhelmed to the point that even if I choose to be with my friends, I will probably spoil the mood worrying about my deadlines. I would like to hang out without feeling guilty about not working. I believe my true friends will stick it out.
Let me know your thoughts on deadlines. Are they a blessing or a curse? Are you chasing a deadline right now? What has it affected in your life? Drop me a message.