In business, there are always deadlines to meet. Whether it’s a major project with a finish date years down the road or a small task that needs to be done by the end of week, your ability to meet project deadlines will determine how you’re viewed by associates. In many cases, how well you perform under the pressure of deadlines will dictate whether you’re given a promotion or passed over for the next person in line.
10 Valuable Tips
While each project is different and the amount of resources you have may vary from task to task, these helpful tips can keep you from ever missing another deadline:
Start with a plan. It’s impossible to meet a deadline – or even complete a project – without a plan. Understand that it’s likely your plan will change along the way, draft an initial strategy, and plan for what you’ll need.
Analyze the deadline. Once you’ve hammered out a basic plan, you can begin to look at your deadline. Is it even feasible? If not, now is the time to say something. It’s much easier to adjust a deadline when it’s far in the future, versus 48 hours away. You’ll also have much more lenience when asking for an extension that’s weeks or months away.
Break up tasks. Often, project deadlines are missed because they’re intimidating. Eliminate stress related to the size of the project by breaking everything up into digestible parts. When you think you’ve broken up tasks enough, do it some more. If you’re good at it, you’ll have small deadlines for every day, week, and month.
Assign roles. After breaking up tasks, look at the human capital you have and assign roles. If possible, designate various teams and groups. Having multiple people work together keeps your team accountable and productive.
Encourage communication. Successful projects require free and clear communication among participants. Don’t shut off any lines of communication and clearly dictate how problems are handled. Everyone should know who they report to.
Invest in helpful tools. There are hundreds, even thousands, of helpful project management tools and resources available. If possible, find project management software that allows you to introduce new capabilities and simplify complex processes. However, always ensure that each tool you use increases communication, not the other way around.
Reward and encourage. Whenever one of those small deadlines is met, provide a tangible reward or reaffirm with encouragement. Your team will feel appreciated and, naturally, more motivated.
Learn to say no. It’s critical that you learn how to say no. Whether it’s an employee asking to take the day off right before a project deadline or a friend inviting you to a concert when you know you need to work, saying no is an important skill that you must acquire in order to consistently meet deadlines.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Running low on resources or don’t have enough people to complete all the tasks you have left? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Explain to your manager that you’ve been diligent in working on the project, but there’s just no way you can finish without help. You’ll be surprised how willing people are to help when they know you’ve been working hard.
Provide regular updates. One of the best things you can do for the health of your project is to provide regular updates. Not only does this show everyone that you’re working hard, but it also allows for ongoing feedback and helpful criticism.
Never Miss Another Deadline
Study these tips carefully and find ways to implement them into your future projects. Not only does your project’s success depend on meeting deadlines, but so could your career. Use these tips and you’ll never miss another deadline again!