4 Tips To Effectively Manage Deadlines
In almost every role, there is an expectation that deadlines will be both established and met. With many of us juggling a number of projects at any given time, this means that we must be able to effectively manage deadlines and any unexpected curve balls that may come our way. This is easier said than done, however there are some actions that we can undertake to make it easier on ourselves. If you’re interested in how you can better manage deadlines at work, see the below four tips.
1. Determine your priorities
While you may have what feels like a million tasks on your plate, chances are these can be categorised into low, medium and high importance items. If you’re struggling to manage deadlines, your first step should be to work out what is urgent and what can wait. From there, make a list of all projects and rank them in order of importance. Each project can then be broken down further into smaller milestones, where you should set a start and complete date for each aspect. This will help you to prioritise like an expert, ensuring that important tasks aren’t left until the last minute and all bases are covered.
2. Create the master of all to-do lists
Once all your priorities are identified, you should find yourself with a very detailed to-do list. To-do lists which list every step are excellent for managing deadlines as you can see exactly what progress has been made at all times. It may feel like you are self-micro-managing, however this step ensures that no tasks are missed and things are completed in a logical order. Depending on how you prefer to work, this list can be either electronic or handwritten.
3. Be transparent at all times
More often than not, you will find that you are not able to realistically meet the deadlines which have been set. Throughout the entire project, you must regularly communicate with your client or boss, ensuring complete transparency. It is important to be specific and clear so that all parties are on the same page. This ensures that when deadlines are unlikely to be met, it is not a surprise to the person on the other end. Open communication also allows the other party to see the hard work that has been taking place and understand that you’ve been doing everything you can to meet the deadline.
4. Be organised and plan ahead
The fact of the matter is, you simply cannot effectively manage deadlines if you are not organised. At the beginning of the project, you must plan what each step is going to look like along the journey – the above three tips should assist you with this. Assign the amount of time you think each step will take, and build deadlines around realistic working arrangements. Keeping a detailed to-do list will allow you to feel organised at all times, and stay on track towards key goals. If organisation isn’t your strong point, ensure that someone else in the team can manage this component and keep the team on track to timely success.
What do you think?
Are you someone who can effectively manage deadlines? I’d love to hear how you go about it in your role, and if you have any other tips for readers. Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.