Life is full of deadlines. Some more important than others. Having a strategy will help you meet those deadlines head on. Using these strategies will keep you on schedule with routine tasks, and special challenges.
Strategies to Use Anytime
- Prioritize – Every Monday morning, look at your calendar, and sort your to dos in order of priority. Then put on your calendar when you will do the work. Tackle routine tasks in bunches, and it may go quicker for you.
- Break it down – Break your task into smaller steps that are achievable. This will prevent you feeling overwhelmed, which will keep you from meeting your deadline.
- Budget your time – There’s a widespread tendency to underestimate how long things will take. Use past experiences as your guide. Anticipate that obstacles are bound to arise, and allow extra time to deal with those situations.
- Let go of perfectionism – Save your best efforts for when they’ll create the most impact. Sometimes you’ll have to go all out, and sometimes you can accept something just being good enough.
- Know your limits – When your plate is full, it’s better to decline assignments rather than taking on too much, and becoming overwhelmed.
- Ask for help. Reach out to others when you require support. Asking for help makes you smart, rather than weak. Also, remember to assist others when you have the chance.
Strategies to Use in Special Circumstances
- Impose your own deadlines – Maybe you work for yourself or your supervisor takes a hands-off approach. Set interim, and final targets to provide structure.
- Overcome procrastination – If you are like me, you tend to wait till the last minute. Use your calendar to schedule the steps you broke the task into, to avoid waiting till the last minute, and getting stressed out.
- Be honest with your co-workers – If a colleague is stalling your progress, it’s usually best to discuss the issue directly with them. Work together to clarify instructions or access extra resources.
- Manage extensions – It’s easy to slack off when a deadline is pushed back. Think strategically about how to maximize the opportunity.
- Recover quickly from missed deadlines – Only in extreme circumstances, is it reasonable to let a deadline go out the window. Apologize sincerely, present a revised plan of action for resolving the situation, and set a new deadline.
- Negotiate for more time – At times, everyone may agree that they’re better off adjusting the time frame. Take quality into account, and realize it isn’t all about the time.
Things happen, life is busy. Using these tips will help you deal with not just tight deadlines, all deadlines.