Monday, March 28, 2005

Pick a deadline, any deadline...

I work for a bunch of engineers. I've learned some bad habits from these people.

For example, I give them a deadline of, say, March 31. I hear back from 1% on March 1. I'll hear back from another 2% on March 15. The majority, however, will get in touch with me on March 31st at 4pm. Half of those will be asking for an extension, because surely I wasn't serious when I said March 31st?

But really, I just laugh about it because I'm the same way. If I know I have a major deadline or deliverable, it's always in the back of my mind. I take notes, I write things down, I may even get started on the project.

But until I'm up against the deadline, I am just not motivated (I'm also a "last week of the month" hometeacher--I always have good intentions about calling someone up and making an appointment for the first day of the month! Never happens).

And the main problem reason I remain so is because I get away with it. Which perpetuates my deadline complacency. Sure, when there's a hot item going on at work, I'm on it before anyone asks me about it. I typically finish things before people come looking for them.

Case in point. I have a major project I'm heading up, and I've been telling myself for 6 months that "this will be the month I finish it." 6 months ago there was an urgency to get it done; I was busily churning away at that project. Now the urgency has been absolved, albeit temporarily.

So "Common Sense Eddie" says, hey, let's get cracking and finish this.

"I've Got Other Things to Do Eddie" says, are you kidding? I'm still worn out after the last project we did. And look at all this other stuff there is to do. Get back to me when you start freaking out.

It's like having a shoulder angel and a shoulder devil.

So today my boss dropped in and during our chat asked about the "eternal project". Have you ever seen "The Money Pit"? Where they keep asking the contractor how long it will take to fix the house? And he always answers, "Two weeks." Six months later they ask him how long it will be, and he says, "Two weeks."

So that's what I said. "Two weeks." Only I meant it!


At March 29, 2005 10:28 AM, Anonymous Sariah said...


My husband is an engineer (almost - still working on the actual degree, but is employed as one) and is just like that!


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