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Are We Managing Our Deadlines or Are They Managing Us?

By Joey Havens

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The sanitation department has changed the pick-up days in our neighborhood. Instead of Wednesday and Saturday mornings, we are now scheduled for Monday and Thursday mornings.  I love the new schedule as I hated having our trash out on the street on Saturday mornings. What I don’t love, is the fact that for three weeks straight, I have had to run to the garage, grab what I could (CeCe always has a few extra boxes or trash cans) and make a dash for the street. Not only do I have to make it to the street, but I also have to run down about three houses as they have already passed ours.  

Two things caused me to be in this deadline situation. First, it’s a change in a seven-year habit, which we all know is hard. Second, when they ran on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I had two things in my favor. It was usually around 9 a.m. and our street was the last one picked up.  If I did not put the trash out the night before, I had plenty of time in the morning. If I forgot, I could hear the truck in the neighborhood and had plenty of time to get it down to the street.  

With the new schedule, they are here at 7 a.m. and we are the first street for pick up. So if I forget to take the trash out the night before, which has happened every week, it’s a mad dash with the trash.  

Here’s the rest of the story: when I am making this mad dash, there always seems to be an overlooked box or bag of trash. This is trouble at my house as CeCe has a sense of smell that would make a champion bloodhound jealous. She knows immediately if I missed anything. “What is that smell in the garage?”  

That’s really our lesson this week. When we procrastinate, do not properly plan, or even have the habit of using deadlines to push us into action, our work suffers. Despite those who brag about being their best near a deadline, science says we make more mistakes and our work is not as thorough as when we properly plan it out. 

Deadlines might help us create the focus we need, but they do not make our results better. When we have the discipline to focus before the deadline, we are at our best. 

Are we managing our deadlines or are they managing us?  Don’t leave some garbage behind because we were not at our best. The smell always catches back up to us. 

Yes, CeCe, I can carry that bag to a dumpster this morning.