Make Deadlines, not Perfection

National Blog Posting Month – September 2014 – Crunch

Prompt – Do you work well under pressure when it’s crunch time?


How many times in my life have I experienced “crunch time”? Lately, it’s inevitably related to a grant proposal deadline. And lately, every time crunch time has hit, things just get postponed.

This isn’t a bad thing, of course.

Over the many years I’ve gotten to walk this Earth, I have had the opportunity to learn then to plow ahead and when to step back and regroup.

As far as these proposals go, crunch time hits and I realize that I can’t complete what needs to be done. At least not in a form that will get the grant funded. It’s usually better to step back and wait for the next deadline in six months. (In the National Science Foundation, if a proposal doesn’t get funded, you can’t re-submit for a year – six months is a much better option.)

There have been other times in my life when there was a drop-dead deadline and I knew it’d be better to submit something complete but not polished than to submit something late, even if it was beautiful.

School work, honestly, falls into the latter category. Students: most of the time you’re better turning in something on time than anything late. This is probably why I was successful in school. This is why I remain successful. I meet deadlines, even if I’m not entirely happy with my work.

At crunch time I remember these lessons. Nine times out of ten, anything on time is better than perfection late. There are important exceptions to this rule, and learning those exceptions is part of growing up. This is also something you hopefully learn in school where only your grade is on the line, not your employment.

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