Got a Deadline? 6 Tips to Meeting Deadlines at Work and School

Regardless of how much you love your job or your educational program, there will always be times when you have trouble motivating yourself to get things done. It happens to everyone from time to time. During the slow times, you’re able to slack off a bit. However, a too-relaxed attitude begins to cause waves when a deadline is looming and you have a project to finish.

Use these six tips to help you to meet any deadline:

  1. Slowly but steadily. Unless you’re dealing with a last-minute project, it’s likely that you’re given adequate notice about the deadline. Break each project into manageable chunks and chip away at the project one manageable step at a time.
  • When you break a large project down into manageable steps, you increase your chances of successfully meeting your deadline. In fact, if you work at your project consistently instead of rushing to complete it at the last minute, you’ll likely be able to turn in high quality work well before the deadline.
  1. Make it measurable. Working towards a deadline without measurable goals is like trying to lose 10 pounds in a month without checking the scale. Create predefined daily goals that allow you to receive feedback on your progress.
  • Provide further incentives for your efforts by indulging in a small reward (like a specialty coffee) each day you meet a goal. The incentive may give you the extra boost of motivation you need to stay on pace to meet your deadline.
  1. Widen the timeline. Rarely does a project run according to plan. There are always unanticipated obstacles to overcome. At work: If you anticipate that you’ll need three days to complete a project, tell your boss that you’ll need four or five days instead. In this situation, you can control when you start the project – so plan to start your project a few days earlier to account for unexpected, last minute events that could hold back your progress. At school, the due dates are typically set by the instructor, but you can still reap the rewards of beginning the project on the earlier side.
  • If you do happen to complete a work project before your quoted deadline, your employer will likely appreciate that you’ve “gone the extra mile” in order to turn the project in before it was due.
  • For school projects, if you complete them earlier than the due date, it gives you some additional time to tighten up the language or add/improve the visuals to give the overall project a boost.
  1. Hold yourself accountable. A strong sense of accountability is 50% of the battle in meeting deadlines. You’ve made a commitment to turn the material in by a certain date; it’s your responsibility to ensure that you turn it in by the agreed upon deadline. When you’re tempted to procrastinate, remind yourself about the consequences of seeming unreliable or falling short of your commitment to yourself.
  1. Put yourself in your employer’s or instructor’s shoes. Let’s say you’re getting married and you hire a bakery to create your wedding cake. If the bakery stated that your cake would be at the reception site by 3:00pm, you’d expect to see your cake by the agreed upon time, right? You’re counting on that cake, and its late arrival can ruin your wedding day.
  • In the same way, you’re providing a service that someone is counting on. Depending on the task, you could cost your company thousands of dollars by not meeting your deadline. At school, it means your instructor may need to move the class schedule around to accommodate your late presentation or submission, and this could affect your classmates as well.
  1. Set your own consequences. If you tend to procrastinate, get the job done by lighting a fire under yourself. Do whatever you must to motivate yourself to get moving and stay And generally, the more you have to lose, the more motivation you’ll find to meet your deadline.
  • Tell your spouse they can spend every dime of your paycheque on a shopping trip if you turn in your work or project later than the agreed upon deadline. If you lose, you’ll definitely learn a valuable lesson.

Are deadlines important? They sure are! Our students at PALC practice key skills in goal setting and meeting deadlines, regularly. Having an instructor to coach and support your development in these and other important life skills in the classroom makes the transition to the workplace or post-secondary studies easier.

So as you can see, whether you’re an employee or a student, your livelihood depends on your ability to efficiently meet deadlines!