Deadlines and their legacy: Part 1

Some deadlines are immovable, others are self-imposed and ‘subject to change’.  Last week I was working towards a static deadline – the Oakley Village Show wasn’t going to be rescheduled to allow me to finish a few extra projects!  The Show is now over, all my unsold items (there are many) have been packed away and I’ve spent a few days dealing with the legacy of that event and pondering the nature of deadlines.

A quick search on Google asking the questions, ‘What is the psychology behind deadlines?’ and, ‘Are deadlines good for us?’  found me several short articles and a few long papers. From perusing these I’ve gleaned the following points:

‘Deadlines are part of goal setting and give an essential sense of purpose to what we do.’ Agreed: Without the deadline of the Show I wouldn’t have stuck to the task of finishing a quilt.

'Love is in the Air' completed and ready to wow the crowds!

‘Love is in the Air’ completed and ready to wow the crowds!

Label stitched to quilt and close up of the backing and binding fabrics ('Inprint' by Makower) bought at 'the Cotton Reel' Worcester.

Label stitched to quilt and close up of the backing and binding fabrics (‘Inprint’ by Makower) bought at ‘the Cotton Reel’ Worcester.

‘We are persistently bad at setting realistic deadlines, failing to draw on past experience we don’t learn from the length of time it took us to do a similar task and we consistently estimate timings using a perfect model rather than factoring in the inevitable hold-ups and delays that happen in life.’   Agreed:  I finished machine sewing this tidy bucket just 35 minutes before leaving home to go to the Show and hand stitched the opening in the lining just as the Show was getting underway!


‘Readjusting deadlines is not a good thing – it results in loss of focus, more time wasting and encourages procrastinators to procrastinate!’  Agreed: As a self confessed procrastinator I can loose focus at the drop of a hat deadline!  But, if the deadline setting process is flawed (see above) then surely deadlines are going to have to be readjusted?  Humm…

‘Deadlines do not aid creativity despite what people say.’  Agreed:  If I can be bold enough to declare that I have, on occasion, had a ‘creative process’ then ‘yes’ in my experience setting a time limit on the process would not have brought out the best results.  Back to the quilt I finished last week: it took me several days to think through what sort of quilting pattern to use, my thoughts progressed through several stages before I was happy to proceed.  Although, once I had found the right solution, the deadline came back into play giving me the incentive to complete the quilt in the days before the Show.

My thoughts on quilting progressed from diagonal straight lines to an echoed zig-zag back to a diagonal but with a wave to soften all the straight lines of the patchwork pattern.

My thoughts on quilting progressed from diagonal straight lines to an echoed zig-zag back to a diagonal but with a wave to soften all the straight lines of the patchwork top.

As for the legacy of deadlines, well that can range from ‘crash and burn’ despair to ‘high five’ satisfaction!  This time I’m in the latter category, having finished some quick projects and a quilt in time for the Show 🙂  In the days since I’ve felt pretty tired, though not too ‘flat’ and I’m driven to do ‘sorting’ – a legacy I’ll share in Part 2 of this post!

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some photos of Oakley Village Show and would really welcome your thoughts on deadlines.

A part of my stall.

A part of my stall.

A very English scene - spectators sat round the arena listening to the local Silver Band and awaiting the start of the dog show!

A very English scene – spectators sat round the arena listening to the local Silver Band and awaiting the start of the dog show!


Oh! and finally… Fans of Morse and Lewis might like to see this view of Christ Church College, Oxford, taken last Sunday on a very lovely day out with friends.


 Linking with Lorna at Let’s Bee Social.

About allisonreidnem

New Every Morning – About Me Hi! I’m Allison, an obsessive patchwork-quilter who has no desire to be cured! I’ve been developing my skills and knowledge by paying attention at my local quilting group and by putting my questions into the computer search engine. I’m so grateful to the generous people who have taken the time to share their knowledge with me in person, via YouTube videos or their blogs. I’m intending my blog to be a link into the worldwide patchwork and quilting community and a means to contribute helpful hints and inspiration as I continue to discover more about this addictive craft. So, why ‘New Every Morning Patchwork and Quilting’? Well! I am a morning person! I often wake in the wee small hours and think through design and quilt construction issues. My woolly–headed evening brain finds such issues far too difficult to resolve! If I’m disciplined enough to be asleep by 10pm, I can be up cutting, piecing, pressing and quilting before sunrise! By the time daily family routine kicks-in I’ve had a satisfying, soul-feeding creative fix. (I should mention that ‘family at home’ is: my patient, faithful husband of 27years; and our equally patient 16 year old son, who acts as our in-house IT support complete with sighs and rolling eyes! Older daughter and son have both recently flown the nest). Not only do I find early mornings my creative time I also find it a time for receiving spiritual nourishment. I often find myself humming a gentle chorus and reflecting on God’s constancy as another new day dawns. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord, Great is thy faithfulness.’ Edith McNeil’s chorus is based on verses from the Bible – Lamentations 3: 21-23.
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16 Responses to Deadlines and their legacy: Part 1

  1. Helen says:

    Well , whether or not it was a financial success for you it looks like a great day . I was admiring that very view at Christchurch just last week !

    • It was a lovely sunny afternoon in Oxford but I’d forgotten quite what a magnet the town is for tourists – that was the only view with no people! Sales at the Show were not very encouraging but it was an enjoyable afternoon.

  2. I found what you posted about making deadlines quite interesting. I quite often set unrealistic deadlines because I don’t take everyday life into account when setting the goal. And then of course I feel bad when I don’t meet the challenge.

  3. Bonnie in Va says:

    Wow, the picture of Christ Church is postcard perfect. Thanks for sharing. I have gotten into the habit of publicly (on my blog) announcing my goals for the week. Usually 5 or so. I am retired and I could spend the days doing nothing or only reading until my eyes give out. Except, I like to quilt and I donate lots of quilts to good causes. My other issue is I am easily distracted and very much time challenged. I am able to look back to the goal list and keep reminding myself what I really wanted to get done — it doesn’t stop all the distractions (oooh I like that quilt let me start that instead of finishing….) I’m getting much more realistic about what I can get done in a week. I also put in things like go quilt shopping with friends… Most weeks I am pretty darn successful. If I’m not I either post that particular goal again the next week or retire it for a while knowing it isn’t keeping my interest or something with a higher priority comes up. Very interesting quotes. Good food for thought.

    • Thanks Bonnie. Sounds like you’ve got a good system going – motivating without having to beat yourself up when the plan doesn’t work out! Good idea to plan in time with friends too – no point having a perfect tick list and no friends!

  4. Gina says:

    I’m in loads of swaps and am finding that I love deadlines. I get so much more done. In fact I’ve started to set myself deadlines with my personal sewing. Hopefully that means I get those UFO’s all done

  5. Zenia Rene says:

    Hi Allison, my standard answer, when someone asks for a (non-commissioned) quilt is, “hopefully it won’t take me 2 years!” LOL! I like the quilting on Love is in the Air. I found you on Let’s Bee Social!

  6. Colleen says:

    that’s funny you are talking about deadlines this week. As you know, I was moved to action by a looming deadline recently, even though I had the fabric for months 😦 . Deadlines are the impetus for much of what I do. I might wander aimlessly without deadlines… no, I’m being unfair, I tend to experiment, a lot. In my life as a potter I made hundreds of glaze tests. I did eventually put my favorites to good use though and lots of people said that that really made my work stand out. Potholders have become my sewing equivalent to the glaze testing. The biggest deadline for us as a family farm though is the weather. We have such a short growing season that there is always a deadline looming. My husband handles it quite a bit better than I do by always pushing forward. Keeping on top of what needs to be done is the secret to his success !

    • Yeah! My husband is good at planning forward to deadlines too. But he’d be the first to say he’s not creative. I wonder if it’s the switch from the freedom (in terms of time) when doing ‘experimental creativity’ to actually setting and keeping a deadline to produce a finished item that is the difficulty?

      • Colleen says:

        I do feel that the creative process does not lend itself well to hard deadlines. Nothing effectively stifles creative energy better than a “gotta get it done by 4pm” deadline. I rarely take the direct route to a finish – mine usually meanders. I enjoyed reading your research and your pictures are good too ! I liked the wavy lines quilting you stitched on your “Love is in the air” quilt.

  7. Pingback: Embracing Imperfection | Quilting Oneness

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