One of my personal tenets has always been “I am not good enough to procrastinate.” This goes back to the days of people cramming for tests or a preparing for big athletic event or performance. I always had to pace myself and have things done ahead of schedule. Living in the world of the self-employed, this is critical as one never knows what is coming down the pike.
But lately, it seems to me that society has lost respect for deadlines. The immediacy of the electronic world means that changes can be made right to the bitter end and nothing ever feels completed. Depending on your camp -a great opportunity for continuous improvement, perfectionism, OR a never ending abyss of “versions.”
The last thing standing is printed material. There’s something about the physical world that still commands respect. My experience in the non-profit world is that it’s only upon knowing that the program is going to print that I can close my sponsorship deals. Same holds true for print media, but our print world has its own challenges!
Ticket sales at venues are suffering and nearly canceling events due to slow sales until the bitter end when large majority of seats being booked at the last minute. I had a board member suggest to me to drop ticket prices for people that booked at the last minute. Really? Rewarding procrastinators instead of early birds?
So are deadlines “dead?” Have procrastinators won? Or is there still a chance to hold people accountable for deadlines even in the virtual world? The paradigm has shifted and those of us who believe in the benefits of planning need to find some answers to these challenges. Certainly we all enjoy the chance to grab a last minute ticket to a ball game, a deep holiday shopping discount, or the chance to whip up a blog post. But there must be a happy medium to take advantage of the new “last minute” opportunities while respecting the discipline and benefits of planning in advance. It’s good to keep our eyes on the pendulum. One way to think about it is “goals are dreams with deadlines.”
A good personal challenge is to think about using planning as a differentiator both personally and professionally. Think about the benefits – financially and strategically that can accrue to those who respect or even beat deadlines. I’d welcome your ideas, anecdotes and case studies on how this nets out financially for industries, organizations, and projects that have to guarantee numbers and meet budgets to thrive and compete.