The Trouble With Self-Imposed Deadlines

You may be shocked to hear this, but I have trouble with time. It always takes me longer to get where I need to be than I think it will. If I want to be somewhere by a particular time, I usually have to fool myself about either the time I have to leave, or the time I need to get there. Otherwise I find myself leaving the house at the time I should be arriving at my destination. Since teleportation does not exist in my neighborhood, and Dr. Who is busy saving the galaxy, this generally means I’m going to be late.

Just as a side note regarding teleportation, do you remember the remake of the movie “The Fly” with Jeff Goldblum? Creepy. I think even if teleportation did exist, I’d still drive.

I have the same problem with self-imposed deadlines as I do with appointments. I set a goal, set a deadline, and then apparently think I’ll get to the destination almost immediately. However, as with a physical journey, the journey from idea to achievement of a goal can take a little time. Invariably I leave the starting block too late, life gets in the way, and I see my deadline speeding towards me like a pack of wild elephants. In panic, I push it off, say I’ll start again tomorrow, and go eat carbs to drown my sorrow. The deadline never gets hit, and the objective never gets met, or gets met a lot later than I’d hoped it would.

Ironically I’m only this bad with self-imposed deadlines. If somebody else gives me a deadline, I can usually make it with no problem. It’s like being expected at a particular place at a specific time – I do whatever I need to do to make it happen. In other words, I’m okay when it’s not just about me. If I’m trying to meet another person’s expectations, I give what I’m doing importance.

Someone once said that a “goal was a plan with a deadline”. Well, if a goal has a deadline, and if I have trouble meeting my self-imposed deadlines, then I”m going to have trouble meeting my goals. And that means I need to give my goals and the deadlines associated with them the same priority I would give another person’s expectations. After all, shouldn’t I want to meet my own expectations? Shouldn’t the expectations I have of myself be given priority and importance too?

I guess the short way of saying this is, life gets in the way. And you need to set reasonable deadlines you at least have a chance of hitting. But if you have a goal, you can’t keep pushing the deadline out of the way to make room for everyone else.

 

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