Although many people feel overwhelmed by them, deadlines shouldn’t be such a dreaded phenomenon. If you have an overall plan for dealing with tight deadlines, you’ll feel much more confident about finishing your tasks on time. To help you achieve just that, we have put together the following list of 11 tips on how to meet deadlines in the workplace.
1. Make sure it’s realisticAgreeing to an unreasonable deadline is why many workers end up feeling overwhelmed most of the time. If you know that a certain task is not achievable by a date that has been assigned to you then don’t agree to it – only agree to ones that are reasonable and realistic.
2. Make a commitmentIf you agree to meet a deadline then you need to make a commitment to do so. If you have a lazy attitude towards delivering your tasks on time then you’ll never put in the effort required to finish them and it will impact on your productivity.
3. Understand the specificsOnce you’ve agreed to the deadline and made a commitment to meeting it, you need to understand exactly what is required of you. Some of the most important things you must know are, what time and date is the deadline? What exactly is it that your employer or client requires of you? Make sure you know the answer to these questions before you get started.
4. Take some notesWhen you get a new task that you need to complete by a given date, make sure to take some notes. Always write down the task and the deadline. Keep it where you can see it every day and make sure to write an effective task list if you want to be even more efficient.
5. Cut the task into smaller piecesOne of the reasons why people feel overwhelmed by deadlines so often is because they don't cut their task into smaller pieces. Make sure to take your overall task and then cut it down so you can see the micro steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
Once you’ve done this, you can then assign yourself steps that you must take each day in order to hit the deadline and complete the task at hand. Being able to visualise what you need to do will massively affect whether or not you can reach the deadline in time.
6. Work in a bubbleOne of the best ways to increase your productivity and meeting deadlines at work is to get rid of distractions. Make sure your workspace is quiet or, if it’s not, at least make sure you won’t be distracted easily. Turn off social media and unnecessary email notifications. You need to be in a bubble, so to speak, so that you can get yourself in the zone. Following just this one strategy will make you twice as productive.
7. Ask for helpThere is nothing wrong with asking for help. If you need some minor assistance with a particular aspect of the task, then ask for it. A little extra help never hurt anyone, especially if it’s going to help you meet the deadline - your manager will appreciate you not trying to do more than you can handle.
8. Divide your time into blocksAllocate to yourself a particular period each day that is solely for working on your task and working towards the deadline. In this period, you don’t work on anything else and you block out everything that may require your attention. It is a well-known fact that a few hours of focused work can do wonders for your own personal productivity.
9. If you can’t meet the deadline, say soThis can be scary, especially if you’ve already said you can hit the deadline. However, your employer or client is going to be much more appreciative if you just come out and tell them the truth. If you’ve genuinely tried your hardest but for some reason you can’t meet the deadline, then tell them. Sometimes unexpected problems can occur during a project so they will understand.
10. Work longer hours if necessaryIf you are committed to meeting a deadline and it’s a very important one, then you might need to do a few more hours of work each day. If it means you do a better job and you know it will allow you to hit the deadline, then it’s going to be worth it.
11. Communicate with your clientCommunication is vital to making sure you are on the right track, so let your client or employer know at the end of each day what steps you have completed. This way, they can also provide you with any necessary feedback. You’ll know what you are doing right and what needs improvement. It’s much better to find out what you're doing wrong during a project rather than at the end when you submit it, only to realise it's not how your client wanted it.
Meeting deadlines at work isn't as difficult as it may seem at first - follow the 11 tips above and you'll see an improvement in the way you work and tackle your responsibilities in no time.
Are there any other strategies that help you meet deadlines at the workplace? Let us know in the comments below!