"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
- Douglas Adams
Deadlines, I've learned, can either bless us or crush us. Used appropriately, deadlines are useful tools for defining our priorities and focusing our energy. They help us get done the things that matter most.
A deadline is dangerous, however, when it morphs from servant to master. A deadline established or perpetuated haphazardly, without conscious intention, takes on a life of its own. It becomes a law unto itself. Then, like the proverbial tail wagging the dog, it unbalances our lives and throws everything out of kilter.
So, how do we keep deadlines from running amok and ruining our lives? Simple: we never make or accept a deadline not aligned with our deepest purposes. We articulate our most important values, we set deadlines intentionally, and then we live with integrity.