Deadline pushes you to work hard

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the original meaning of deadline was a line that does not move. The use of “dead” probably conveys a message that preemptively warns the consequence of crossing the line.

Although we never have the chance of being physically penalized for crossing a line, we are, indeed, striving in a world constrained by deadlines.

Assignments, exams, applications, conference/journal papers, thesis… anything you come up with in your college life. You are totally screwed if you ever dare cross any one of them. For a fair competition, no exemption is allowed.

Yet deadline has another function. Most of us never start to worry about it until there is one week left. A stopwatch is automatically set up. Deadline is so pushy that you cancelled any non-urgent schedule.

Even if the work is finished days before the deadline, one always tends to continue to work on it until the deadline.

Yet another magic power of deadline is that you always hand in a complete work, regardless of how well it is done.


Bonus chatter: One of my labmates started his own stopwatch 60 days before a conference deadline. Indeed, the stopwatch was virtually visible to everyone as he put it on his MSN status and kept updating it every day. This definitely nullified the need of setting up our own stopwatches.