As a project manager, I often spend my days making sure that projects meet their deadlines. In order for that to happen, I have to make sure everyone involved in that project meets the due dates I’ve assigned to them. That’s the biggest challenge of all.
I’m beginning to think that the rise of the digital age has made people think it’s OK to submit a project late. If it’s on a website or social media app, people think, “that’s OK, I can upload it and fix it later, or just delete it if I don’t like it.” Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I’ve been working in production and publishing for too long (after all, it’s been 20 years…). The work ethic I’ve been raised with has taught me to always strive for the best. Why don’t people think that way anymore?
Think about this. Everything around us, every single day, would not function if someone didn’t meet their deadline. TV stations like CNN, NBC, Fox News, and BBC couldn’t function if someone didn’t sit down and put those stories together every day. Magazines and newspapers still exist, both online and in print. In order for them to be published, content needs to be worked on each and every day. Writers, editors, designers, and photographers have to meet their deadlines so that the publications can be on the newsstand or website on time. The lights, the water, the gas, the cable, and your cellphone wouldn’t work each day if you didn’t pay your bills each month. We wouldn’t have produce at the grocery store if the truck driver didn’t make the deliveries. Or even better, what would happen if the farmers didn’t sow their seeds each season and harvest all their fruits and vegetables that we buy at the grocery store?
Our everyday lives revolve around deadlines. We don’t walk into schools, office buildings, restaurants, and even each other’s homes and wonder if there will be electricity or water. We assume it all works. We take deadlines for granted because for the most part everything around us functions. But it functions because someone met a deadline. Someone understood the value of a due date.
So, the next time you think about missing that due date or waiting until tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year to get that project done, just think that someone out there may be depending on you. Your deadline may be more important than you think.