Deadline or Timeline?


I don’t know about you but the title of the blog is intriguing to me.

On the surface the words look pretty straightforward.  But in true Jerry Rushing fashion I will most likely over complicate these simple words.

Just so you know, complicating things is not my intent… it just happens.  My mind works weird at times.

Sometimes I will see common words or phrases and (who knows why) they will strike me on a different level.  I pause, tilt my head and go humm?

Yes, I know… I probably get a little too caught up in the subtle meaning of words and phrases.  But it’s the way I’m wired.

There is no question these two words have distinct definitions.  And there is a definite need for both in any successful business or life.

But what struck me is that these words symbolize more than just business or life tools.  The words denote and characterize a philosophy of life also.

Think about it.

People tend to live their life in one direction or another.  Their temperament and mindset seem to fit more naturally in one arena.

This in no way means that people who tend to lean in the timeline direction never has deadlines… nor visa versa.

I just mean that we lean in one direction or the other and there are plusses and minuses to each.

Let’s take a closer look at the two.

I know that I cannot do these terms justice as it relates to a life philosophy.  Also, fair warning, I will most likely (but not intentionally) have my personal biases seep in.

At the very least, I hope I will stir your thinking enough to cause you pause.

Side Note: Anything that causes you to pause is an amazing gift.  The pause to consider… a new thought… a different viewpoint to consider.


One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes




Dictionary Definition

1. a table listing important events for successive years within a particular historical period

2. a schedule of events and procedures

To me, timeline is seeing things more as a process than an event.  A single activity is seen in light of the larger, long-term framework.  Context is paramount.

A timeline is used to look backward to see trends and broader meaning.  It is used in forward motion as a series of events to attain a long-term goal.

Personally I tend to fall in the timeline camp.

I like context, patterns, and the big picture.  I see life as a flow and process vs. isolated events.

But… Yes there’s a big BUT.

But there is a dark side to timeline thinking.

If not careful, the sense of urgency slowly evaporates.  The process takes a life of its own and it is very easy to let dates and activities float.

You let this happen long enough, eventually we find ourselves left in the dust of progress.

Monday I will take a close look at deadlines.  I discovered something about deadlines that was absolutely fascinating.

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