How to Manage Project Deadlines
Millions of people struggle with deadlines. Between life and the hectic pace of the modern world, it can be difficult to keep up with them. Often, these deadlines loom over our heads and cause our stress levels to rise. Deadlines do have some benefits associated with them.
These deadlines ensure that projects remain on schedule. They keep workers motivated to complete tasks. They also keep the business growing and moving forward, so that everyone in the company benefits from them.
But how do you manage project deadlines successfully? The process is fairly simple.
Start Your Day on Time
At the start of the day, employees spend the time chatting with their friends, making coffee and logging onto their system. To be more productive, arrive to work a few minutes early and have everything ready to go at your start time.
Keep Distractions to a Minimum
Deadlines are often missed due to distractions. These distractions might be in front of you or weighing on your mind. It is important to know your triggers and avoid them. If listening to music draws you into the music, work in silence. If Mike in accounting makes it a point to talk to you each time he comes by your office, shut the door. Being proactive in reducing distractions is critical for your success.
Push Yourself to Work Even When It’s Hard
Everything takes time to complete. Unfortunately, when you know a project takes four hours to complete, it’ll be difficult to get motivated enough to even begin. But if you take the initiative and slowly work through the process, it will get easier and you’ll feel your motivation rise. Before you know it, you’ll have completed the project and move on to the next project on your desk.
Setup Deadlines That Exceed Your Expectations
Most projects are never done in the time you imagine they’ll take. Nine times out of ten, something will come up. You need to be proactive when setting deadlines to avoid surprises along the way. The best thing you can do is to double the projected time frame when possible. If a project should only take an hour to complete, allow two hours to complete it. Projects that should take a week to do, give yourself two weeks. If you are low on time, give yourself the maximum amount of time to possible to complete the task. That way, there are fewer surprises and you will meet the deadline given.
Make a List of Things That Need To Be Done
Keeping a list will help you to stay focused on a project. For the list setup the items in order from simplest to hardest. On the next side, list them by order they will take to complete. With both these lists in place, begin by doing the two shortest projects to do. Next, focus on one of the harder projects to complete. Switching back and forth down the list will keep your mind stimulated and allow you to feel like you’ve accomplished more.
It will also help you to avoid spending days completing a few tasks and getting discouraged. It also helps to completed everything on time.
Never Wait Until the Last Minute
One of the worst things you can do is to wait until the last minute to try and complete a project. No ever works better under the gun. Instead, they push themselves hard and make critical mistakes to make up for lost time. Avoid putting yourself in this position by starting a project as soon as it is assigned to you.
Staying in constant communication with each other is critical to the success of meeting deadlines. Daily meetings give everyone an idea of where they are with a project. These updates will help to spot potential delays and problems in advance. You’ll then have a chance to address them right away, rather than scrambling at the last minute to tie things together. Knowing that last minute scrambles lead to an increased error rate, it is important to do all you can to get everything done on time.
Make Time to Eat and Recharge Your Body
A great time to meet is over a meal. This serves a dual purpose. While you are staying informed, you are also staying energized. Most people push themselves too hard to meet a deadline and overlook eating and breaks. The result is experiencing delays and sluggish behaviour that are easily avoided by a simple lunch break.
One of our favourites is try to set your deadlines 24 – 48 hours before they need to be. If you have a project due by close of business on Friday, setup deadlines on your calendar for Thursday by five. As things pile on, you’ll psych yourself up to get things done within this window. If someone looks at your calendar, they will also see that a project is coming due. It helps to avoid any last minute surprises because someone else has taken over the bulk of your time. Managing project deadlines can be stressful but using some of the tips above may help you safe time and money and make your client happy.