Be sure you know what matters.
Most of us in the business world are used to deadlines, those looming reminders that 'something has to be done.'
Some hard and fast, some not so much, but all set with the expectation more or less that things will be achieved. We're used to this in our professional lives, so familiar with them that we adapt them, massage them, play games with them and so on.
Because, in the end we know that a failed deadline except in the most extraordinary circumstances is not career-ending much less fatal. Do they matter? Yes. Should you meet them? Yes. But when not met, the result is usually some embarassment, a dressing down, re-setting of priorities etc.
In other words, we have a solution for that.
But what of our personal lives?
What does it say when we fail to meet the timelines, commitments and deadlines we make with our family, friend and partner? Can we abscond so easily?
In our personal lives – which encompass the work/social bits of life – we have some relationships that are extra-ordinary. Some relationships so meaningful and enriching we do ourselves harm should we damage these relationships.
Theoretically these relationships are open-ended in time, forever and ever if you will, thus not subject to the notion of a deadline. Yet the truth of the matter is that even in these relationships – indeed, perhaps even moreso in these – commitments, promises, timelines and deadlines all matter. They all go to conviction and commitment.
Often I write about the notion of not losing self in a world where career and work seem to move ever faster and faster. The fact that we can digitally connect almost instantaneously with anyone in the world now is truly amazing. And cumbersome.
Even in entry-level positions now we are allowing the impression that 24/7 access is required, that we need all hands on deck all the time.
So I raise a voice to the contrary.
Deadlines and commitments do matter. But in life over the long term what really matters – what we really care about when all the rest has fallen away – is the relationship we have with those special friends and family. The people closest to us.
Do your work. Meet your deadlines.
But most of all, keep things in perspective. There are some commitments that truly are inviolate.