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Navigating deadlines

Posted by: sabine-robinson

Bite-sized conversations - Realising Potential

At RPX2 Ltd, we are passionate about helping people and companies realise their potential.

In this latest episode of the ‘Bite-sized conversations – What makes people tick?‘ at Realising Potential Fiona Brookwell and Michael Jones unravel the intricate and diverse relationship individuals have with deadlines and time management.

Some people are excited by deadlines, others dread them. Some plan ahead, others leave completing a task to the last minute.

Fiona and Michael discuss:

  • Two approaches to deadlines: Why can deadlines be exhilarating for some, and the source of anxiety for others?
  • Time management: Why do some people manage their time, and, for others, time manages them?
  • Different perceptions of time: Differences between impatient, busy individuals and their calmer, patient counterparts, and how their inherent behavioural differences play a crucial role in their perception – and management – of time.
  • Routine or adrenaline rush: Some people thrive on the pressure of tight deadlines, whereas others need a more structured and routine-driven approach to be successful. Neither is good or bad – they are just different!
  • The importance of environment: Why is it important to find a work environment that speaks to your superpowers when it comes to managing your time?

Tune in to find out more about managing deadlines, and the impact of different approaches to time on work styles, productivity and wellbeing.

Why not contact us and try the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment for free to find out what makes you and your people tick?

Do also check out or blog on the topic of ‘risk’.

To explore more about the services discussed in the episode, please visit



Deadlines workplace behaviour

If you’d prefer to read a transcript, here is a summary of the conversation:


Neale James: Here’s what’s on today’s edition of Realising Potential with Fiona Brookwell and Michael Jones.

Fiona Brookwell: Deadlines are exciting for some people and a dread for other people.

Michael Jones: There are certain types of individuals who appreciate a deadline being something that they can plan for, that they can organise for, that they can allocate time for.

Fiona Brookwell: Sometimes busy people go at things at such a pace that they can miss the obvious.

Michael Jones: So, find yourself an environment that plays to your individual superpowers when it comes to your interaction with time.

Fiona Brookwell: So, impatient, busy people, in their world, time is there to get things done.

Neale James: Fiona, let’s start by talking about deadlines, how some people seem to perform so much better or enthusiastically when they have a deadline.

Why would that be?

Fiona Brookwell: Our experience tells us that deadlines are exciting for some people and a dread for other people. And for people who like to be busy, having a deadline can be a really positive energy to them because it gives them focus. So, people who like to be busy, quite impatient people, quite driven people, in our experience, they’re often multitasking.

They’re doing lots of things, and the busier they are, the more productive they become. So, the opposite happens when they’re not busy, they get bored, they get lackadaisical, they become unproductive, and often they become mischievous, and they go out looking for things, and they fill their time. If they’re not busy enough, they fill their time.

So, if you give somebody of that nature a deadline, and the deadline is too long a deadline, then they often put off trying to achieve that deadline because it’s like ‘it’s only an hour’s job and I’ve got three days’. So, I’ve got plenty of time and they fill their time with everything else.

Then, when it comes to 55 minutes before it’s due in, right, focus, let’s go. And they get focused and that deadline becomes exciting to them, and then you’ll go for the deadline. But it creates a stress, but it’s not necessarily a negative stress for people that are actually quite impatient. It’s a different story for people who are a lot more patient and a lot calmer.

Michael Jones: Yeah, and I think, most of us appreciate some form of deadline.

It’s just that there are certain types of individuals who appreciate a deadline being something that they can plan for, that they can organise for, that they can allocate time for. It’s just that there are some of us who see a deadline as something that we do the work to literally as the deadline is standing in front of us.

Where others plan the deadline so that it’s a week from now. So, I will already start it, and I will allocate my time. So, it’s a question of how people manage time, how they interact with time.

There are some people who like to be in the driving seat when it comes to planning time. Other people, kind of like the urgency of the last minute, the unexpected.

And these are the people that tend to be in fast paced, moving environments where deadlines are constantly shifting and changing, and they find that energising. Whereas for other people who are built differently, that’s actually quite a hideous place to be because now time is managing me rather than me managing time. 

Neale James: Michael, how can you almost, if you will, retune someone to work in a different way when they’re used to an environment in the past, but they’re not working in it now.

Michael Jones: That’s a big, big topic for us, because I suppose, simplistically, there’s a part of me that says, you can’t.  And of course, this is why it’s very important that what we do is help people to understand that there is a type of environment that works best for them.

So, find yourself an environment that plays to your individual superpower when it comes to your interaction with time. Of course we can all adapt, of course we can all be what we’re not naturally. But the reality is if we do it for too long, there is a price to pay and that price is often perhaps ill health, it’s stress, it’s burnout. And for us, it’s about understanding if you are somebody that feeds off the energy of pressure and deadlines, an environment that gives you that will be best for you. Whereas if you are somebody that likes to allocate time appropriately, and if a job is supposed to take an hour, you’ll want to give that job an hour.

There are other people who will always end up rushing a job and doing it in 40 minutes, when it’s supposed to be an hour and they kind of enjoy that. Not sure enjoy is the right word, but they feed off that pressure, it energises them, and they do their best work under those type of conditions as Fiona already said.

Fiona Brookwell: What we often say is anybody can achieve a deadline. Deadlines are there. We know what they are, and we make a choice. Are we going to achieve it? Are we not going to achieve it?

Michael’s talked about the people that enjoy chopping and changing their deadlines. And flexing them around, whereas calmer people, more patient, stable people, people that like to do things in a more routine fashion, of course they can achieve deadlines, but the main thing is don’t chop and change their deadlines.

Give them a deadline. They know what it is. You’ve asked for it for 3 o’clock on Thursday. You’ll get it at 3 o’clock on Thursday. Don’t go to them at 3 o’clock on Tuesday and say ‘I want it for 3 o’clock on Wednesday’. Unless you’re prepared to have a conversation with them about what do they then take off of Wednesday’s list, so that they can get Thursday’s job into Wednesday and reallocate Wednesday’s list.

So, people who don’t like to turn it round quickly, and are more stable and calmer, sometimes might need help to prioritise and reprioritise, sometimes might need permission to prioritise and reprioritise. As Michael says, the important thing is about the context that sits around it.

Deadlines are fine. Deadlines are great. We can all achieve them. But some of us like to know what they are, and we stick with that. We create our plan, our path and we create our time slots to be able to achieve that. For other people, the deadline is too far out. That’s boring, I’ll get to that, plenty of things to do, lots of time in the meantime, let’s be busy doing other things.

So, it comes round to something Michael mentioned earlier, about people’s perception of time and why time exists. So, impatient, busy people, in their world, time is there to get things done, and get things done now, and get things done quickly, and the busier I am, the more productive I feel, and it’s exciting.

Whereas for other people, time is there for life, and time is there for living. Take time to smell the roses, time for family, time for friends, time to chat. And therefore, they just operate in a calmer environment, and they see time is there for longevity. It’s there for living. And these are calmer, patient, more stable individuals where often routine is actually quite important to them.

Routine gives them time. You know, why have they got time for hobbies during the week? Because they go swimming at 6 o’clock on a Tuesday night, and they have done for the last 10 years of their life. Why would they break that routine? Whereas impatient, busy people often struggle to find time to have hobbies during the week.

Why? Oh, well, I haven’t got time to go swimming because I’m very busy doing this, that, and the next thing. Why does my friend have time to go swimming every single Tuesday at six o’clock? Because it’s part of their routine.  So sometimes busy people are not necessarily more productive, they just go about achieving things in a different way.

We have a little saying which is rush and wrong. Sometimes busy people go at things at such a pace that they can miss the obvious.  Whereas calmer, more patient, stable people, they have their routine, they have their path. They have the way they do it. They get things done in a more stable and calm fashion.

Neale James: Realising Potential, with Fiona Brookwell and Michael Jones. For more information about our services and organisation, visit

Realising Potential with Fiona Brookwell and Michael Jones. For more information about our services and organisation visit

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