Battling artificial deadlines


Since I left Corporate America, I haven’t had any deadlines to meet. That is both a good and a bad thing. I no longer have the stress of a “drop dead” date. But, I also don’t have the motivating force behind “you better get this done!” So, I end up finding myself battling artificial deadlines.

Before we get into the meat of the post, let’s get our nomenclature straight. Over the past nine years, I’ve had plenty of appointments. Those are not deadlines, merely places you need to be. Things like doctors’ visits and service repairmen. Nothing terrible happens if you miss them, you just reschedule.

Probably the closest I’ve come to having actual deadlines is my Great North American Baseball Road Trip (GNABRT). That carefully mapped-out journey to catch a baseball game at all 30 major league parks did have some clearly defined days I “needed” to be in each city.

Hitting all these dates was really hard!

But…technically, those dates never truly qualified as deadlines. I was always able to reschedule a trip for later that same summer. Sure, I would be adding weeks (if not months) to my trip. And dollars. Lots and lots of dollars. But, even if I missed a stadium or two, nothing earth shattering would have happened.

So, in fact, the only “real” deadlines I have truly had since my gainful employment ended have been “fake’. Leaving me with just the occasional chore of battling artificial deadlines.

I guess the most “real” of those artificial deadlines would be Halloween. If you don’t know by now my massive efforts on Halloween, you have a lot of remedial reading to catch up on. Let me help…

Halloween IS a hard deadline

Clearly, Halloween is a fixed date on the calendar, so it “sort of” makes my decorating and bag creating a deadline issue. But, my motivation actually stems from a more personal place and so the deadline doesn’t feel particularly onerous or demanding.

For all its associated pleasure, though, my cooking challenge is the best example of what I mean when I say I am battling artificial deadlines.

As a quick review, I set up a challenge to myself at the beginning of 2017 to cook a new recipe each month. Something I enjoy eating but have never cooked for myself before.

I successfully navigated 2017, but had a couple of close calls, including one last day of the month saving recipe. So far in 2018, I’ve also cut it close to the wire, including last month’s “cheat”.

A cheat in more ways than one!

It’s funny to me (“ha ha”, not curious) how I take this monthly challenge seriously. I have little other activity-based motivators in my life. Morning walks are more of a routine and I have no exceptional hobbies (I like to read, hardly deadline-inducing action).

So, although, again, nothing untoward would occur if I missed a month in my cooking challenge, I feel compelled to make sure I get something new cooked each month.

It’s not much, but it’s enough. Though they don’t carry the “sting” of my working-world deadlines, I actually appreciate it more when I’m battling artificial deadlines.

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