I hate deadlines

My family is at a last minute high tea and gaming party without me.
I was invited too but I have to finish this stupid report due Monday that I didn’t get the data for until yesterday afternoon.
I hate last minute deadlines.

My coauthor’s all, “Last minute deadlines are the only way I ever get anything done.”

I HATE them.
I like getting my work done between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
and outside of that only if I WANT to, not because there’s some last minute I’m scrambling deadline
because I always screw up when I’m scrambling
(I probably screw up when I’m not too, but I find and fix those screw ups in time.)
(with nobody the wiser)
Also scrambling negatively affects my sleep (guess who woke up at 5am?)
How do you feel about deadlines?  Do they mess you up or do they increase your productivity?  Do you get things done ahead of time when you have all the bits and pieces or are you always scrambling?

25 Responses to “I hate deadlines”

  1. Nanani Says:


    Deadlines are for planning so that I don’t have to be working at the last minute!
    These days, the only way I’ll be working right up to the deadline is if a) some sort of problem occurred with my computer/internet/etc, or b) the deadline was unreasonable to begin with. If b), I will be having some discussions with the relevant client (I’m a freelancer).

    Back in uni I would leave things until near the deadline for that panic energy, but as a grown-up professional I really, really don’t like it. Plus, now there are consequences, like not getting paid, if I don’t make it or if quality suffers.

  2. gwinne Says:

    I work very well with deadlines but not in that last minute panicky way of the undergrad. The best kind are the ones that I set but have accountability for (like telling an editor I can have something done by July 1).

  3. Alyssa Says:

    Ugh – HATE this!! I just completed a group project this week, and things that were not my responsibility were left until the last minute…and then NOT done. So, I and another person (who also wanted to get it done ahead of time) had to scramble to complete it. Frustrating beyond belief

  4. Norwegian Forest Cat Says:

    I don’t mind deadlines, but only when they are set well in advance. I am a planner and almost always complete things well in advance if the deadline is reasonable. Deadlines set at the last minute? Hate them. Completely arbitrary deadlines set at the last minute that someone implemented for no particular reason (aside from accommodating new weekend plans)? Hate them even more. I run into the last class of those more often these days and that has only increased my distaste for them.

    I have found that some people who don’t function well unless waiting until the last minute have trouble with “internal” deadlines sometimes – things that are on his/her to-do list but don’t have an outside source demanding that it be submitted by a specific date/time. Does anyone else seem to notice this? And if you’re that person, how do people get you to do the other stuff? Asking for a friend… :)

  5. xykademiqz Says:

    *raises hand timidly*
    I am very deadline-driven. I am almost never late, but I never deliver things in advance. I expect to be told when you absolutely have to have something from me, and I will deliver it, but it will not be much sooner than the deadline. There’s simply way too much going on at every point in time so I need all the time I can get.
    Also, I admit I like the adrenaline rush of chasing a deadline.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    I am used to working to deadline because while the nature of my work is not life-and-death, it is definitely time-sensitive. That said, I’m also used to scheduling my own workflow, for the most part. Very little of what I do is a surprise. :-)

    I hate last minute stuff and have been known to get snappy about it. Can’t think of a time we were up to the wire because of *my* delay. “Last minute” means “no margin for error.” The errors in my business are almost always corrigible, but you can’t bill the client for fixing a mistake you made because you were rushing.

  7. Ana Says:

    Deadlines set way in advance so I can plan my time—love them.
    Last minute deadlines taking up a precious summer weekend—GRRRR!!!

  8. Sapience Says:

    I’m in the deadline hating camp, at least in the way they get used where I currently am–last minute, everyone perpetually in crisis mode to get things done. The more last minute the deadline, the more stressed I get, and the lower the quality of my work. I started the habit early (college) of working to an internal deadline about one or two weeks ahead of any actual deadline. When I was working on my dissertation, I was the one setting deadlines for my advisor (for when I needed/wanted feedback) rather than the other way around. I do set my own internal deadlines, but I follow the Scotty principle: always double your time estimate to get something done, and then you either get it done early, or on-time if something goes wrong.

  9. Fiona McQuarrie Says:

    I don’t always like working to a deadline, but I like having deadlines – especially when I have multiple projects on the go. Then I can decline other projects or ask for deadline changes if my time is going to be taken up by working on something else.

  10. Millennial Moola Says:

    I prefer working outside of M-F 9-5. Desk life really gets tough after a while

  11. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    #2 here. Deadlines improve my productivity and motivation, often. I am more like xykademiqz on this, although I don’t like last-minute panic. I meet deadlines but usually don’t beat them by more than a day or so.

  12. Debbie M Says:

    Oh, that sucks that you’re missing that totally fun-sounding party. I also want to go to that party!

    Mostly I hate deadlines. And when I have them, I try to finish things early so in case something goes wrong I still have time. I despise stress.

    In fact, whenever someone wants to schedule something and they have two or three options, I always pick the earliest one that works for me. Then if something comes up, we might be able to switch to the later option(s).

    Oddly, organizing my time so that I’m not doing things at the last minute is my main strategy for being able to be spontaneous. Yes, planning allows for spontaneity. (As you’ve seen with your party.)

    However, there are two things I like about deadlines. For some things like parties I’m throwing or tests I’m studying for where I may have a practically infinite number of things I’d like to do in preparation, it’s nice to know that after that deadline I am done, no matter what.

    And sometimes deadlines do motivate me. For example, I like to plan a house-warming party a month after I move to motivate me to unpack in a timely manner.

    Oh, three things. When I used to type for professors, I mostly did short things first and first-in-first out for similar-length things. But it was good to know the deadlines for things like tests and grant proposals as well–that helped me to organize my time to maximize the happiness of my faculty. But those were real deadlines.

    I absolutely despise fake deadlines. Like we have to get our product out before another company does. That’s a fine goal if it’s reasonably possible, but not if it results in a pile of crap. I want to be able to do good work, and being stuck slapping together crappy work or using all my time and energy for one tiny part of my life for a long period is no fun at all.

    • chacha1 Says:

      Planning definitely allows for spontaneity. :-) If I know I have X, Y, and Z obligations or projects-due on A, B, and C dates, I can block out the time to deal with them in advance; avoid scheduling anything that would impinge on my ability to execute; and then say yes to fun things that might come up during the interim because I know I still have time to cope.

      Planner by nature, here. My plans have plans. I am already planning our summer vacation in 2019.

  13. jjiraffe Says:

    I might be in one of the most deadline filled professions, and deadlines are a contributing factor as to why my profession always makes the top 10 most stressful jobs list. :/

    I’m not a terribly great self-starter, is the problem. I have done some world-class work with insane timelines and crazy boulders to lift, so to speak. I’ve also done some incredibly mediocre writing with no timeline. So – deadlines bring out my best work?

    • Debbie M Says:

      I am a great self-starter! But after the start, I lose interest and want to let things slide until the deadline. (Though now I value flexibility so much that I try really hard not to do that.)

  14. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    I’m ambivalent about deadlines. I need them sometimes to help me prioritize my tasks (never enough time to do everything).

    What I hate is when people tell me that I need something huge done by tomorrow, when they forgot to tell me about three months ago, when they told everyone else. (As a chair for an interdepartmental major who is not chair of a department, this happens to me all the time—they inform the department chairs and forget to tell me, until the day-before reminder, when suddenly they want 3 months of work from me.)

    • Debbie M Says:

      Or even when they do tell you three months ahead of time, but they want an annual report, and so you needed to have known to start collecting data one year in advance of the deadline.

      I’m sorry that as an interdepartmental chair you don’t get proper notifications. I knew that the people who the chairs like to delegate things to often did not get timely notifications, but you’re official! Can you get a couple of department chairs to watch your back for you (and forward stuff like this?).

  15. Cloud Says:

    I like deadlines, in that I generally only agree to them if I can make them without working silly hours. I dislike panic deadlines, but have learned from years of working in software that sometimes they happen and the only way through is to put your head down and do the work. But if it happens a lot, I try to find a different place to work, because something is broken if there are continual crunch times and people don’t learn how to avoid them. It is not just you that makes more mistakes in crunch mode- everyone does! I recently created a bigger time crunch than I like in my own work, and it was entirely my fault and you’d better believe I’m taking some lessons from that and I won’t make this particular mistake again. I’ll make other mistakes, though, because I’m human and stuff happens.

    I’m a huge believer in breaking big deadlines down into intermediate milestones, so that I can have a few minor pushes to meet those intermediate milestones, and not one giant panic at the end.

    I’m sorry you missed the tea and gaming party!

  16. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    People like your coauthor drive me up the wall when I have to work with them. I’m with Gwinne, I like deadlines that I can set that are reasonable and useful. Not arbitrary and/or last minute ones. I don’t mind working TO a deadline, I just hate if the deadlines themselves don’t make sense or if someone else earlier in the process decided that my deadline was also theirs and leaves me a few hours to get my work done.

    Similarly I hate when someone asks me to do them a favor like reviewing cover letters and resumes and does it when they know it has to be submitted at 5 am the next morning. Are you kidding me? Do you think this magic just happens in isolation and doesn’t affect anything else in my life? I have since learned to tell them I’m happy to help if I have a week.

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