Why Deadlines Are Valuable

“Would you mind writing an article for me?”

“Would you help me with my resume?”

“Do you have time to work with me on a project?”

These are all questions I’ve been asked in the past few weeks, and when I ask, “When do you need it?” I’m invariably told, “When you can get to it,” “No rush,” or “For the next issue.” No one seems to want to give me a deadline.

Without the deadline, I have no sense of urgency. Your project falls to the bottom of my “To Do” list because I have plenty of other tasks with deadlines. Without a deadline, I can’t honestly tell you if I can fulfill the request. I know you are trying to be considerate because you think or know I am busy. I appreciate the consideration. 

But give me a deadline. I’ll tell you if I can meet it. And that deadline also will guarantee that I submit it when you need it. Otherwise, it’s probably not going to get done.

A deadline will make us both happy.

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