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Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why Deadlines Suck

I'm behind on a deadline for my book(s), which got me to thinking about how much deadlines suck.  To be fair, I think that aligning tasks in a timeline is a good thing.  But no one likes deadlines.  They're the red headed step child of project management.  So it got me thinking about why deadlines suck and what we can do about it.
First of all, nothing with the word “dead” in the title is good.  Right off the start the word has a negative connotation.  If you want someone to think positively about a deadline then it needs to be rebranded with a more acceptable term other than “dead.”  Secondly, deadlines are like ghosts floating in the air trying to frighten people who don’t believe they exist.  They’re more annoying than scary.
So here are a few alternative suggestions:
It means the same thing as deadline, but it puts a positive spin on task completion because when you achieve it you’ll really feel “alive!”
Happy Moment
When the task is complete you’re in your “happy moment.”  Or maybe the boss is in her happy moment.  Either way it sounds positive and uplifting, like a good bra.
Because zombies are “undead” and zombie movies are fun.  Let’s transfer these concepts to goal attainment terminology.
Punishment Avoidance Date
This one is self explanatory.  However, it still has a slight negative connotation.  I give it points for honesty, but it’s not my favorite option. It’s like saying “slightly soiled intestinal tubes” instead of “sausage casing.”  See the difference?
Fleeting Moment of Accomplishment
This term evokes honesty and realism.  When your boss checks in she can say “Have you reached your fleeting moment of accomplishment yet?”  Because as soon as you say yes you know you’ll be getting more work.  The moment really is fleeting.
Successful Posterior View
Meaning that when you look back you feel successful if you have reached your goal.  Plus this sounds like you’ve been in the gym and have a great butt.  Who wouldn’t want that?
Don’t kid yourself.  Whatever you call it we’ll all know that you’re lying and trying to sell us sewage scented perfume.  Deadlines stink no matter what you call them.  But we’ll have a great time laughing at you for using these absurd terms. 


  1. As a former football player I call them goalines. I grunt, sweat, tape my fingers, bleed, and curse until I finish on time. Yes, I spike the ball and do an obnoxious dance when I deliver my writing on time.


  2. Love it - especially since if you can make a sports reference about the workplace, you're automatically "management material." Very appropriate.

  3. I vote for Punishment Avoidance Date!

  4. Amy, I had five deadlines a day in the dreaded newspaper business and the only way to stay sane was to think about one at a time. The next one which would be rolling around in a few hours. Wish I could have presented these ideas to the publisher 20 years ago! I think Lifeline sounds perfect!

  5. The Line That Shall Not Be Named Line?

    and I have a number of those pressing down on my itty bitty brain right now too.

  6. The Desert Rocks - I'll bet you have some great stories about meeting those deadlines. I'd love to hear them!

    Bornstoryteller - We could go with "The line that must not be named." Then it sounds like Voldemort and gives it a mysterious feeling!

  7. I work best under the...um..you knows...TLTMNBN...stirs me to action. Also, never handed in a term paper on time when I was in college, so...

    The Rule of Three Writing Challenge Blogfest

  8. Just so you know, I mentioned your blog today at http://wp.me/p1mecg-ek and I pass onto you an award, if you want it/need it. Rules and stuff on there. If not, don’t worry about it.

  9. Thanks BornStoryteller - I appreciate it and will do a post as soon as I get a few minutes (which may have to wait a few more days)! Thanks for including me.

  10. I am incorporating every single one of these into my daily life starting immediately. The "Fleeting Moment of Accomplishment" rung especially true.