Friday, October 26, 2012

FYI: Admittedly Deadline case you didn't notice

We're coming into that time of year when we seem to move from one deadline to the next. I think that's part of the reason I love January 1st so much--I always have a huge sense of relief from having met all the holiday deadlines, or in some cases just let them pass! But if I am being honest I must say that I operate in deadline mode most of the time. I guess I enjoy it, or I wouldn't do it.

In my professional life I thrived on meeting deadlines. I was the type you could count on. While I often resented the pressure they imposed, the truth is deadlines forced me to up my game and I loved the idea of "pulling it off." Especially if it was a real challenge. A friend said to me once (actually about a challenge I didn't sign up for) "if we were never forced to rise to the occasion we probably wouldn't." I guess that is why I keep imposing deadlines on myself: parties with a ridiculously time-intensive handmade concepts, home improvements for the next gathering we host, new handmade clothing for the next family trip... No matter the event I seem to take a fixed date and line up a bunch of work against it.

I do it because I get more done when I am under pressure. And I like to get things done because then I can enjoy the result, and it means I am in the clear to move on to the next thing on my list. And why do I have a list? Because there are just so many things that need or want to be done! And time seems so short, doesn't it? Children grow too quickly, and seasons change before we've fully enjoyed the one we're in, and it seems I barely have time to clean up breakfast after taking the girls to school in the morning when it's time for them to come home again.

My husband has wondered aloud to me more than a few times why I complain about not having enough time and then turn around and volunteer to host a family dinner or take on some other assignment. We've often laughed about my "learning disability" of misjudging the actual time it takes me to to do something. I'm always trying to cram more in than I physically have time for. 

I figure if I aim for the ridiculous some good stuff will actually get done. And I'll feel good about accomplishing it, and others will enjoy the party, or appreciate the clothing, or be pleasantly surprised the handmade Christmas gifts.

But, deadline-driven though I am, I am tempering it a bit. Honest.  I've realized I can't always be in high-gear, nor do I want to. I end up inevitably dropping things off my list a few days before any given party. I catch myself saying, " I need to...." and correct it with, "well, I WANT to...."  I save the craziness for after the girls' bedtime (OK, sometimes during Tess's nap time too) and try to pace myself a bit more than I used to. Because as much as I love getting things done, I love the people for whom I am doing them more.  And because the people these days are my family, not my clients or coworkers, I need to remind myself that they value my time more than my accomplishments (assuming there is still something to eat for dinner!). It's a tricky transition for a workhorse but I am working on it.

What about you? Are you deadline-driven too? Or do you have a different way of getting things done?

My "FYI" posts share news or a perspective about something that's been on my mind. You can read them all here.


Tennjenny said...

NOTHING in my life gets done until the deadline. Whatever the deadline may be (as in, the children have no more clean underwear). I don't just work best under pressure, I ONLY work under pressure. It's kind of stressful.

Leigh Anne said...

Yep, glad to hear I'm not the only one. It drives my hubby crazy, but that's just how it seems to happen for pressure = no results :) Thx for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I have lists for my lists, I have a very hard time relaxing. If I don't have things to show for my time I feel like I must be lazy. Others have said they wish they were like me but I warn them not to look at me as a "good" example. I desire a better, happier balance for me. Deadlines are wonderful :) there I said it. Bonnie P

Mona said...

I belong to a block of the month club.Today was meeting day and I started on my block 2 hours before I had to leave. I finished it, though. If I didn't have a deadline, nothing would get started or done. My friends and I were just discussing this very subject. I'd like to be more of a planner, but sadly I'm not. Two out of my three children are like me. The other one is a planner and list-maker. You are what you are :) Embrace it! Mona

Cherie said...

I am the same and a procrastinator too - so I'll wait until the deadline to get something done, but I usually do. I LOVED the part about your "learning disability!" HAHAHA - I have that too! And I'm glad I'm not the only one. Maybe we should start a group and spread awareness about this topic - it's a real issue that real people have to deal with!!! ;)

Anneliese said...

@Jenny: I do this sometimes too. I had to rally Friday and get to Costco because I was down to the last diaper!

@LeighAnne: I left out the part about driving my husband crazy...! :-)

@Anonymous: Others have said similar things to me, about "how do you do it?" and it's true, it comes with baggage, right?! I always say it's about trade offs. They are doing something else, something different, even if that thing is relaxing. I have to add that to my list!

@M.: I love the "lists of lists"!

@Cherie: I used to procrastinate but I've swung the other way and now I seem to start gearing up for th next thing WAY in advance, which means I can add in more (unneccessary) tasks associated with it. Sometimes waiting means you only do what's essential! Not bad.

kristin said...

I keep meaning to comment on this post and tell you how much I loved it and related to it, but I was too busy setting ridiculous deadlines for my self (four piece halloween costume, cinderella dress that i finished 30 minutes before it was time to go to disney on ice, picnic quilt for wedding this weekend, flower girl dress for same wedding, still want to squeeze more projects in). maybe all of us sewing bloggers are just the same person, living in different parts of the world. ;)

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