Image by Dan4th Nichols via Flicker

I have a self-imposed deadline for completing posts for this blog (as suggested by Kristy when she did my blog design). The idea is that I work on a post throughout the week, revise and edit them over the weekend, and then publish bright and early Monday morning. Clearly, that didn’t happen this week. I have what I hope is a great post that I’ve been working on. But haven’t really found the time to get it done. Why? Deadlines.

It’s summer, but I feel like I have so many deadlines. They’re everywhere. They’re looming. And most of them are self-imposed, yet somehow firm. And then it’s nearly August. Summer is almost done…What? I have so much left to do! Books to read, classroom design to finalize, a closet to reorganize…And all of the things with real deadlines.

  • Not self-imposed (or not entirely): I have to finish the handouts and slides for the workshop I’m doing next week. Which is sold out. We were worried there was no way we’d get the minimum 25. Technically, everything is done. But, in my typical fashion, I’m obsessing about it not being perfect. Especially since people I know have told me they’re coming. I know not working on the last few things, which will take a half hour at the most, is not helpful. And I’ll do it. But even though there are exactly three things I need to do, I feel a bit like this (warning: the cartoon is just a graph, but it does use some bad language). I’ve become even more detail focused because people I know keep telling me they’re coming. Why are friends watching your presentation more stressful than strangers?
  • Last week, after I got back from Miami, I decided that I was going to make a dress to wear to Kate’s wedding, which is this weekend. This is also almost done. But I’m really not sure why I decided that this would be a good idea. Granted, this is a soft deadline. If I don’t finish, I pick up a sundress on my way to Grand Central on Friday and that’s that. The wedding is on a farm. But if someone wants to come over and help with alterations (hard to do when you live alone and don’t sew quite enough to justify a dress form), let me know.
  • Speaking of Kate’s wedding, most of my weekend and the early part of the week was spent being stressed about how I would get there (deadline: figure out how to get to Kate’s wedding before you actually need to be there). Most of the people I know who are going to the wedding have moved out of NYC, so catching a ride with someone wasn’t working. And apparently every rental car agency in Brooklyn or in the Hudson Valley is closed on Sundays for the summer. Really? It did all work out. Enterprise in Poughkeepsie has a kiosk at the Metro-North station. OK…that one’s checked off, but definitely a deadline that affected the others.
  • Summer Throw Down. It was supposed to be fun to set goals and read books. But I’ve read five (due to a couple books that I thought would be good, but ended up being a bit of a struggle to get through). And my goal was 10. And July is almost done. Sigh.
  • Baby shower gifts. Everyone is pregnant. Slight hyperbole. I know three people who are expecting. And, of course, I feel like I need to knit gifts for all of them.
  • The CSA vegetables. They’re starting to feel like a deadline (you’ve got to eat or freeze them before they go bad). Especially the zucchini…
  • All of these things.

I should probably stop writing this (which is well past its deadline and probably more a means to procrastinate than actually productive) and get to editing, pinning, sewing, reading, emailing, sweeping up all of the fabric scraps, getting new vacuum cleaner bags so I can get all of the little bits the broom misses…You get the idea.

How do you deal with deadlines? Do they stress you out or do they motivate you?

If as an adult with fairly well-developed coping skills I feel this way about deadlines, how must our students feel? What can we do to help them develop the skills they need?

(And I’m seriously excited for a weekend of celebrating on a farm, whatever I happen to be wearing for that celebration–clearly, I need a break.)

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