Most of us organize our calendars around “deadlines.” But we take for granted where this ominous-sounding term came from and why we use it so much.

During the American Civil War, the term referred to a line drawn around a prison that prisoners couldn’t cross. Then newspapers used the word to describe a guideline on printing presses, beyond which text would not print and die. And by the 1920s, “deadline” was used as a synonym for a time limit.

As an architect, my life entails a neverending series of deadlines. Missing these deadlines can have significant consequences. But I have a series of rules I use to keep my calendar…

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Everything Shortform is a publication for Medium stories 150 words and less. Rapid reads to capture your attention and direct it towards further reading or short expressions readers can gulp down in one bite. Use Everything Shortform to get your point across quickly.

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Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA

Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA

I’m a retail architect that studies human behavior, perception, and decision-making. I’m fascinated with the intersection of where commerce and community meet.

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