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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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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