Deadlines are stupid and long live deadlines

August 26, 2021
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Home 9 The Intro 9 Deadlines are stupid and long live deadlines

All too often, we live in an either/or culture. It’s this way or that way. This decision or that one. 

Here at Swell+Good, we are getting better and better at choosing and. 

And while there are countless very serious topics that could benefit from a good “and” conversation, today, we’re thinking about one of our favorites (that is, admittedly, not all that serious at all): 

Deadlines are stupid and long live deadlines.

We pick both.

Look, we get it. Deadlines are almost always self-imposed and arbitrary. We pick a date and then rush to meet the goal we set for ourselves. Do our donors care? No. Would it matter if we picked the next day, or the day after that? In most instances, probably not. 

In our most creative moments, we find ourselves nodding along to ideas presented by Basecamp founder Jason Fried, who refuses to set goals and instead just “does the best he can.” His book, It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, challenged us to reconsider so many of our built-in business practices. 

But then we remember something else: 

We suck without deadlines. 

Having checkpoints (even arbitrary ones) keeps our team moving forward. And when we’re working on deliverables that impact our colleagues and clients, meeting those key dates is an essential quality of being a good partner.

As much as we want to live in the freedom of doing good work, we know that, at least for us, timelines matter. Goals matter. Milestones matter. And yes, deadlines matter, too.

So we choose and

Yes, deadlines are made up. They’re random. And they’re often pretty pointless. 

And also, we love them. They help make our work better—or at least help us get our work done. And they help ensure that we keep moving forward. 

Allison Kooser

Allison is Chief Storyteller at Swell+Good, where she partners with amazing organizations to help them bring their stories to life. She is an avid traveler, an expert takeout orderer, and a big believer in curiosity and kindness. She tries to learn something new every day, and she reads, writes, and paddleboards more than the average human.
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