Solid Strategies for Meeting Deadlines
Deadlines are a daily reality in the business world. It can be difficult to get everything off your to-do list at the end of the week. You can manage distractions, and master time management with a few tricks. Here are some tips to help you prepare and succeed at accomplishing all your tasks.
Daily you are bombarded with information, and assignments. It is not realistic to expect yourself to hold every little piece of necessary information in your head. Schedule all new assignments in your calendar immediately. Include the duration, any notes and the due dates for the assignment. This provides a chronological order of your responsibilities. You can focus all your energy on completing the task, and rely on your calendar instead of your memory.
If you can do the assignment immediately, do it. It doesn’t make any sense to put something off if it’s not necessary. Staying ahead lessens the risk of not meeting your deadlines. It also will ensure you have extra time. This will allow you time to deal with changes or last-minute emergencies.
Break down your project
Break a larger project down into smaller pieces. Start with the biggest tasks and break them down into individual steps that have their own deadlines. Tackle them one after the other. As you accomplish each task, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, which will fuel you to take on the next challenge.
Urgency over importance
Start with the task with the closest due date. It may not be the most important task on your list, but it is due first. You need to get everything done, anyway, so you might as well start at the start. If you are concerned with the important tasks, do your best to complete the preceding tasks as quickly as possible so you can start work on more pertinent issues.
It’s hard to anticipate distractions, and some things cannot be avoided. No matter how important these may seem, these distractions will slow you down. Try to avoid interruptions by delegating responsibilities to your co-workers or employees. Shut off your cell phone when you are ready to begin working. Program your office phone to go directly to voicemail. These steps ensure zero distractions and interruptions.
Learn to say no
Sometimes deadlines are utterly unworkable. Negotiate alternative dates. Better to do it now rather than later. If the deadline cannot be moved, it’s better to say no upfront. It is stressful to tell someone no, but it is nowhere near as stressful as trying to work under an unrealistic deadline.
Deadlines help you to set priorities and accomplish your goals. Being proactive and planning reduces the stress of a last-minute rush to meet a deadline. With these strategies, you can consistently finish on time and with less stress.