With the 31st of March looming just around the corner, I can’t but help think of procrastination and deadlines juxtaposed with each other and the many consequences that could rise as an eventuality of missing one.
Sometimes, I am grateful that I have an OCD problem, and this is one of those times. So, to most part I have managed to meet deadlines and a lot of times have gotten the job done before time. I also am blessed with a terrible memory for numbers, so I ensure I keep logs and sticky notes with to do lists, so I don’t miss out on any. A confession at this point, I am only good with work deadlines, I am pathetic with personal deadlines on everything from losing weight to getting on a diet, I am the goddess of procrastination when it comes to the personal sphere.
Let’s face it, you can’t have a world without deadlines, so might as well learn how to work around them and figure a way to do so smartly. Also, a missed deadline can be stressful, and a trend of misses can lead to serious consequences in context of work. It could also lead to reputation damage and impact careers and business outcomes. Whatever we do, there are going to be deadlines and as professionals we must ensure we deliver on time and stick to keeping time.
But, since I have a decent track record with work deadlines, I’ll share a few things I do when it comes to managing them, which could help you gain some insight on what to do if deadlines are a struggle.
- Plan your work around priorities both for the day and for the week
- Prepare for and evaluate the tasks at hand
- Plan and then execute it
- Ask questions and get clarity right at the start
- Start the process of getting it done, the minute it reaches your desk
- Make a list – one for the desk one for the phone and maybe a sticky note on the laptop too!
- Set reminders – both on the phone and laptop
- Always add buffer time so you have it ready beforehand
- With a large project in the offing, it’s good to break it down into smaller milestones so you finish off the bits without feeling the pressure of the load in all entirety
- Factor for failure or problems
- Course correct if you deem it necessary
- Say no to deadlines that you know aren’t achievable and negotiate better if you have a say
- Communicate delays or problems early on
- Use an online scheduler to help you stay on track
If all else fails and you know you are going to miss it anyway, give enough notice, ask for an extension and give the explanation as to why the delay happened.
As Nolan Bushnell said, “The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.”
So, while I work on my personal deadlines and manage to achieve them by getting work done, hope this piece gives you some ammunition to deal with the deadlines in your life! Wishing all of you a happy financial year ending!