by Megan Sy, M.S.
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” –Douglas Adams
Over the years, I have developed a love-hate relationship with deadlines. For many projects and tasks, deadlines do a good job at motivating me to get moving. In fact, I am often a “precrastinator” and prefer to complete things right away rather than wait. But there are times and certain tasks where I am content to sit idly by and watch the days pass until the deadline is a stone’s throw away. For those tasks, deadlines become a source of annoyance and worry. During these times, I often have to contend with thinking that the task will be too challenging or time-consuming and will therefore be intolerable – I can’t stand it! But the reality is that the difficulty is usually imagined and overblown. And even if the task really is hard and time-consuming, the end product is almost always consistent with my goals and values. However, if I don’t keep my thoughts in check, the cycle of avoidance continues.
So here’s what I will be rehearsing next time there’s a task I’m dreading: “This project might be difficult, but I can tolerate the discomfort. The process may be tough, but it is worth it to go through it.” Maybe then deadlines won’t be so ominous.