On Deadlines

Unexpectedly the origins of the word deadline appear in a book I am reading. The book mentions Benson John Lossing’s “History of the Civil War” (1868) and describes the birth of the word. “Deadline” is said to have appeared for the first time during the Civil War when a general in charge of a military prison, having a shortage of supplies and therefore no fence, drew a line around the perimeter of the prison. If any prisoner crossed the line and attempted to escape soldiers were authorized to shoot to kill. 

“Seventeen feet from the inner stockade was the ‘dead-line’, over which no man could pass and live.”

The birth of the word as serious, intense and stressful as the feelings we experience when approaching our version of a deadline. 

And a deadline is something else too. 

Despite the troubling circumstances the dead-line was a clever solution to what was a real problem for that general. 

Next time you find yourself starring at deadlines feeling like they are the enemy remember that deadlines are part of the solution to the problem you are trying to solve. 

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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