The Freeing Power of the Deadline

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been involved with music. I’ve been in concert band in school. I’ve been in marching band. I’ve been in jazz band. I’ve been in garage bands. I’ve been in bands at church. I’ve even been a one man band. Throughout all that time and all of those various bands, I had never played with a click until a got into college. In fact, I’d really never heard of the idea.

I would argue being a musician and playing with a click track is much like having a deadline. Now you might think I’m crazy, but first let me explain. Being a musician and playing with a click allows everyone to stop guessing where the beat is. It allows you to focus on the music, rather than trying to keep time. I will say at first it’s somewhat annoying and difficult, but once you get used to it, it becomes a necessity.

This is much like a deadline. With a deadline, everyone knows where to end without question. And if you’re smart, you’ll create deadlines along the way. You could call these soft deadlines. I’ll talk more about soft deadlines in a later post. These are deadlines that no-one but you and your team knows about. This will help accomplish the big goal at the end. In the beginning, deadlines will be annoying and possibly stressful. Some deadlines will probably always be stressful, but hopefully they’ll get easier to meet once you’ve set a few.

|with a deadline, everyone knows where the end is without question|

via @allenwfarr

So what exactly is a deadline good for?

  1. Everyone knows where the end is.
  2. It sets clear expectations for what needs to be accomplished.
  3. It helps everyone work toward the common goal.

If a deadline is never created, then chances are whatever you are trying to accomplish won’t be accomplished. It’s also probably safe to say that you will be met with many assumptions and much frustration.

I’ve heard it said that dreams are goals without deadlines and the things that are important to you will always have deadlines. So, are there some deadlines that you need to set?


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