It’s true that there are real deadlines. As of April 15th our taxes must be filed or we need to request an extension. Ballots have to be dropped off or mailed by a certain time on election day. Credit card payments need to be made by the due date or interest is incurred. The football must be snapped within 40 seconds of the start of the play clock or it will result in a delay of game penalty. Some work deadlines must be met or there will be serious consequences.
It’s also true that there are imaginary deadlines. They are self imposed. We arbitrarily decide what has to be done by when as if there weren’t any other options. Earlier this week I had scheduled today as a “must prepare for some upcoming work” day. Nobody else thinks it has to be done today, and to be honest, nobody else will care when it is done as long as I’m prepared for the work by the time I do it. As it turns out, today is not the day to dive into that preparation. There are other things more pressing, and simple loose ends that once taken care of, will free up more mental, emotional, and creative space to not just prepare, but to prepare well. With the click of the mouse I moved the task out to another day on my calendar, and the pressure to just do it to get it done evaporated.
Let’s take a look at our calendars and do a fact check on our deadlines.
Are they real?