Beating project deadlines is an important part of keeping stress down and delivering good work. It doesn’t matter what types of projects you work on, if you can beat a deadline you’ll be in high demand. Here’s how to do it.
* Set Realistic Deadlines – The fastest killer of a deadline is overestimating what you can do and how fast you can do it. Always work in a cushion to your deadlines just in case something happens; that way you can avoid stress when reaching deadlines.
* Set Deadlines in Stone – Once you set a deadline, tell yourself it is set in stone and you must meet it or beat it. Since you put in a cushion before setting the deadline, that means that you should be able to get done before the deadline if all goes as planned.
* Plan and Organize Efficiently – Part of setting deadlines is learning to plan and organize efficiently. Set up a system of organization that you do for every project. Having systems in place eliminates the problem of forgetting any aspect of your project.
* Use a Calendaring System – No one can do anything online without a calendar. Today online calendars can sync with your smartphones so that there is no reason to forget anything. Train yourself to look at your calendar every evening and every morning so that you avoid forgetting anything. Do not rely on memory.
* Communicate Deadlines to Team Members – If you work with others, such as vendors or service providers, it’s imperative that you communicate deadlines to them in a way that they understand the importance of the deadlines.
* Do the Most Productive Thing First – If you are not sure where to start, and you can identify items that aren’t order sensitive, then you can start right on them. Sometimes just getting something done can unleash more creativity.
* Baby Steps – Break up all the work into small, bite-sized pieces that you can do a little at a time that will ensure that you meet your deadlines. Setting smaller deadlines throughout the project will also help.
* Start at the End – Write down what must be done to constitute a final deliverable on your project, then work backwards to today assigning yourself and others tasks that will ensure the project is done on time.
* Plan Ahead – The first thing you should do for any project is to make plans ahead of time to get the things done that need to be done. They say that failing to plan is planning to fail and nothing can be truer than when it comes to project management.
* Outsource – Never forget that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Outsourcing aspects of any project will help you focus on what you do best.
If you really want to beat deadlines it requires organization, planning and dedication to be self-disciplined enough to follow the plan you created for yourself to meet your goals. It all starts, of course, with that realistic deadline, and advanced planning. A good project management system doesn’t hurt either.