Deadlines are Promises that Mean You Matter

By Patrick McNerthney 

One of the weirdest things about deadlines is they’re something people and businesses create to control time. I, on the other hand, always advocated for building a time machine to do this – it sounds way more fun – but alas, no one has taken me up on the project. Yet.

I once worked for a company whose CEO liked to whine about our team facing “yet another fake deadline” to appease the board of directors and how this “stole” our time. In a way, he was right. The board of directors wanted to see progress to feel assured the project was in good hands,that they’d make money, etc. – all perfectly reasonable, yet potentially inconvenient and distracting for those of us doing the work (in this case, creating a bottled coffee beverage for sale in grocery stores). It didn’t help that our leader felt the deadline-makers didn’t see “the big picture” like he did.

(Like this, but not gross. Plus good for you.)

I bought into the CEO’s mentality for quite a while. Later, I realized he was partly wrong. Sometimes deadlines are fake, and those waste time. For example, we could have sent the board a monthly update – instead of using deliverables like the first draft of the label for the bottle – to measure progress.  

But real deadlines are a necessary part of business (and personal) life that help us. The so-called deadline is simply the part of a project’s timeline that requires evidence or progress or completion. Once we agree upon a deadline, it removes the need to stress, or come up with excuses, or figure out how we can wiggle out of our responsibility. Instead, everything becomes quite clear. Whatever is “due” will ship out, not because it’s perfect, but because we said it would, i.e., we made a promise. 

Promises are a big deal. They define who we are to the world. Like the old adage:, “People judge you by what you do, not what you say.” So, when we make a deadline (promise), our focus turns to doing the best work we can in the time leading up to the deadline, instead of spending time fabricating excuses and reasons why “it’s not on us.”

Yes! It’s time to flip the script on deadlines and use them to our advantage. Imagine a world where stress, blame, fear, and worry are replaced with a drive to do great work that’s fueled by our promises. But part of the problem may be that we don’t value our promises enough. In fact, now that I think about it, that’s the most important part – understanding that our promises, matter, make a difference, and that people are counting on us keeping them. Which is a long way of saying, we matter, our work matters, and our world needs both.

(Even a pinkie promise matters. How cute. *Barf.)

Think of it like this. Just because we don’t witness the gorgeous sunrise, or the quiet from a snowfall, or the tulips starting to emerge with spring (they’re coming soon!), doesn’t make them any less beautiful. Some days, even most days, we aren’t acknowledged for our work – but that is not a measure of its worth. Our promises matter, and deadlines are just a way you demonstrate that you keep your promises. 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) is here to help you keep your promise to care for your residents and loved ones. FAM understands your commitment to help the elderly, children with challenges, and anyone who needs assistance with daily life can be demanding, draining, and UNHERALDED. But FAM wants you to understand it matters, which is why they champion creative expression as a tool to help those you care for win the war against social isolation.

Art Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, ART2GO packages (this month it’s all about Matisse!), Music Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions, Drumming Exercise, and Drama Therapy (whew!) work magic for those who need it most. It turns out these forms of creative expression are proven to increase feelings of self-worth, boost self-esteem, generate a sense of mastery, and foster connection amongst peers as well as the outside world. All of which leads to the realization by those suffering from social isolation that they (drum roll please)…MATTER.

Boom. Acknowledgement by others means nothing if we don’t acknowledge ourselves. Give those you care for the power to realize how important they are. Reach out now, FAM is happy to get you started

I hit all my deadlines this week fo sho. Well, wait. I still have to write a LinkedIn post…and follow up with that one client guy…and do some budgeting. Oops, I gotta run. Still have a few pesky deadlines!


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