FALSE DEADLINES WITH GOOD INTENTIONS. No one resents a “false deadline” more than me. But then I am responsive — a professional imperative for journalists. Publishing and handful of other professions (i.e. tax preparers, hostage negotiators, military generals) live and die by real deadlines. Too many others, however, use deadlines as casual reminders or threats or worse — to burden subordinates with making up for wasted time. The falsedeadline can be identified for having no actual consequences once missed.
Conversely, “false deadlines,” when used with discretion, can serve a useful if not universally successful purpose. They can minimize your stress and calm your ulcer by obligating habitual procrastinators (i.e. lawyers, insurance agents, unnamed coworkers) to work with you instead of against you; in your time zone where time is money and accountability counts.