Deadlines, we all have faced them. May it be homework of a school kid or project of an office worker. Missing those deadlines may result in lower grades, or loss of client or contract.
At work, deadlines can bring stress even to the most organized people. There are several types of deadline, it can be as easy as a phone call, or may require you to work overtime.
Different business leaders follow different techniques to meet their deadline. Here are some tips from successful people that will guide you on how to meet deadlines:
1. Clarify details
Know exactly when the deadline is. If you are asked to meet a deadline by the end of the week, does it mean Friday 5:00 PM or first thing on Friday morning? Clarify all the details regarding the deadline in advance. Also, you must know what your client or your boss expects from you when they assign a deadline. You might also know the quality standards that you need to fulfil for a particular project.
If meeting the deadline seems unrealistic or needs you to hold some other important tasks, negotiate right away. It is better to let your boss know about other tasks with higher priority and ask him to postpone the deadline in advance then to do it later when the deadline is already missed.
2. Make a to-do list
You might have more than one deadline to meet and you need to keep track of each one of them. A forgotten deadline has no chance of being met. To stay better organized, maintain a to-do list or add the tasks you need to do in your calendar. If you are working on a bigger project, break the whole thing down into smaller tasks and allot a specific amount of time to each task. As soon as you are done with a particular task, tick it off from your to-do list, this is the best motivation you can ever get.
3. Don’t procrastinate
If the deadline is a week away, it may be tough to start working on it from the first day. You might think that you have plenty of time and there is no sense of urgency. Then, suddenly you are left with a single day, and you have not yet started with the work. So it’s better to start early and work on smaller tasks and plan on how to meet deadlines accordingly. Sub-deadlines may help you get it done on time.
4. Don’t hesitate to take help
If you are working on a big project, which requires a variety of tasks to be accomplished, ask for help. There might be some task, which may require an expert or simple a helping hand. Suppose you need to prepare some graphics for your presentation, you can take help from the graphic designer. If you require some specific details about company’s employees, take help from Human Resource department or you can also take help from interns if you simply require a helping hand.
5. Have some buffer time
You need to plan sub-deadlines and tasks in advance. Set a soft deadline by keeping some buffer time before the final deadline. You may not be sure about the final output of tasks or may require some time to change, so it is better to have some cushioned time. Also, there are possibilities of human or technical error. So if the deadline is two weeks away, keep a cushion of 2 days, and if the deadline is a month away, increase the buffer time to 5 days. Maintain the cushion on the basis of project’s deadline and importance so that you can deal with last-minute emergencies.
These tips will surely give you an idea about how to meet deadlines and will also help you to maintain the quality of your work.