Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Deadlines

I'm busy. And tired.

So I need tools to manage both. One of the most useful tools right now is deadlines.

Deadlines help me manage other people's shit. If someone has three weeks to prick around, they'll spend three weeks doing exactly that. Give them 24 hours and that's a hell of a lot less shit to deal with.

So I have begun assigning arbitrary deadlines to everything. Absolutely everything. They don't relate in any way to when things actually need to be done. The only factor setting that deadline is how quickly I want it off my desk and out of my head.

And, when those deadlines hit, I make a decision and never think about that particular issue again. So far, it's working.

I'm finding first thing Friday morning to be a good deadline in general. If there's a last minute fluster and the usual realisation that things are going ahead with or without certain people, that gives that morning for any messing about. And, that Friday morning, I stop checking emails and don't check them again until Monday.

That leaves my head nicely clear all weekend.

Any issues that arise on Monday are either new issues to be dealt with that week or old issues relating to that deadline that has past. And, if that's what they're about, well, that ship has sailed.

The beauty of this is that it works all the way up the chain. Nobody - producers, suits, anyone in a responsible role - wants to be the cause of a deadline being missed. So just the mention of the word shifts all power down the chain.

It's fun. And it's helping me stay productive and, most of all, relatively sane.

6 comments:

Andy J. Latham said...

Interesting! Deadlines are friends, not enemies :)

Red Pill Junkie said...

I think you're learning the hang of it! Before you know it, you'll be managing Pixar's European division ;-)

sallyo said...

I also do better with deadlines. Otherwise I tend to putter around and get nothing done. Great cartoons!

Mark p.s./Mark p.s.2 said...

deadlines=responsible
Keep it reasonable and this new system won't fail.

Ryan said...

My trouble lately is I try to enforce deadlines but I'm not given the teeth to do so. So many times, I've given someone a task and it's not done when I wanted it done. But of course, it's always "almost done" and they just need a few more days, or a week, and it would take me longer than that to hire a replacement, and matching the *distinctive art style of something that's 90% done* would be an additional requirement on whatever hypothetical replacement I could find.

this.art.geek said...

"The only factor setting that deadline is how quickly I want it off my desk and out of my head."

This is BRILLIANT! I've had problems with meeting my own deadlines, as much as I'm good about meeting external ones. But this is a great perspective and I will use it.