While it’s important to create and stick to project deadlines, it’s even more important that your deadlines be realistic ones. If not, there’s really no point in having them in the first place. Follow these tips, to help you with successful deadline management.
Break the Assignment into Segments
Breaking your assignment into segments makes it much simpler to create a comfortable project deadline. Figure out exactly what needs to be completed first and proceed from there. This is also a good time to decide on what resources you’ll need for the project so you can have them all ready instead of wasting time searching for them as you need them later on.
Consider Your Other Obligations
Everyone deals with a variety of obligations, on a day-to-day basis. Allocate plenty of room for these obligations and then schedule in blocks of time to work toward the deadline you need to meet. Be sure not to overextend yourself by committing to too many projects at once, even if you are only committing to yourself. Be realistic about the time your obligations will require when planning out your project deadlines.
Allow for Possible Errors
Unfortunately, people sometime make mistakes. Human-error is inevitable. Allowing extra time to correct any errors that may occur keeps a project moving forward smoothly, even when there’s an unexpected glitch. This is especially true if you have outsourced any part of your project and are not doing everything yourself.
Identify Stumbling Blocks
Dependent on the type of project you’re working on, you may encounter a stumbling block of some sort. Maybe a technical issue that you don’t know how to handle or an expense you weren’t expecting. If you can identify some of these scenarios beforehand, you’ll be more equipped to deal with something if it does pop up.
If your deadline sneaks up on you, don’t automatically go into panic mode. The only thing it will accomplish is making matters worse. Ask for a short extension or recruit someone to help you. This will typically get things back on track, in no time at all. If you’re doing work for someone else, they probably have deadlines to meet as well, so make sure you give them plenty of notice if your work isn’t going to be completed on time. Most employers will understand and allow for an occasional extension, but be sure not to make a habit of it.
You may find it hard to believe, but deadlines actually help you. They assist you with focus and how to better work under pressure. In addition, you will probably see improvement in both your organization and time management skills. Honestly, what could be better than that?