Why You Should Learn to Love Deadlines – and How to Do It

working on deadlineThere’s a reason you work better under deadlines – and it’s not some innate addiction to stress. It’s because you work best when there’s one key element involved…

Do you know what it is? You probably do, but may not realize it.

What’s not to love?

Deadlines offer you many great qualities for being productive. For example, they give you:

  • Specific time-limits for getting things done
  • Sense of urgency, a great procrastination fighter
  • Hard-fast goals to plan toward, with set expectations
  • Strong feeling of accomplishment from meeting deadlines

That sounds pretty good, right? What this all adds-up to is the key reason you work better under deadlines – because deadlines offer you structure.

Structure is a supportive element that guides you toward accomplishing your work. It’s also the key reason you plan, organize and schedule your time.

Master both types of deadlines

You will experience two different types of deadlines:

  • Assigned: tasks that are given to you as a responsibility, such as work projects, planning a party, a school paper, and your tax filing
  • Self-imposed: a useful method for staying productive is to set deadlines for yourself because it keeps you from putting tasks on the back burner until they become urgent or forgotten; examples include, quitting smoking, cleaning your garage, and learning a new skill

Learn how to meet them both on a consistent basis and you will find yourself having many more successful work weeks than ever before.

How to meet all your deadlines

Now that we’ve established the why and what, let’s talk about the how. Use the following steps and you will find better success in meeting all your deadlines:

  1. Create a task list for your project, use descriptive action statements
  2. Make a timeline: your start dates and end dates are already defined; next you must choose a halfway point, and one-quarter and three-quarter progress dates
  3. Schedule tasks: create a project calendar where you clearly specify what needs to get done, and on what day
  4. Prioritize evenly, meaning don’t wait until your deadline approaches to make project tasks a priority; instead, spread high priorities evenly along your timeline because each task is an important link in the chain
  5. Always do make-up work: compensate for missed tasks by focusing additional work time – stop the chain reaction of project delays as quickly as possible

How have you been successful at meeting deadlines? Do you have a trick you’d like to share. Please comment…

[photo by alancleaver_2000]

Enjoy this post? Here are some other articles you might find interesting:

– The One Tip that Makes Your To-do List Better

3 Easy Tips for Staying Productive All Day

– Achieve Your Goals Even When You’re Too Busy

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at jeff.doubek@daytimer.com