Author Douglas Adams once famously said: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” If that sounds familiar when it comes to your own project management skills, it tends not to be something you can actually joke about, as missing deadlines can cost you in your career and you don’t want to get the reputation as someone who can’t be trusted to get work done on time. However, there are things you can do to get better at this crucial skill.
A lot of the most important work in meeting a deadline comes before you actually start doing the real task, because it takes place in the preparation phase. For example, one surefire way to set yourself up to miss a deadline is to fail to get all the information you need about the task at the start, as you will struggle to get the work done right, which will inevitably lead to delays and trouble. The same goes for not having all the necessary resources, so make sure you factor this in.
After this, it’s time to break down the workload into priority order and setting up a to-do list, maybe using an app like Todoist. Setting yourself a series of mini-deadlines will help you ensure that you’re staying on track throughout and not kidding yourself about how much work there still is to be done. Sometimes it can be tempting to lose focus by working on other things or simply being distracted from the task at hand, but do everything you can to avoid this.
When it comes to managing your time, experts tell us that front-loading our week by getting the bulkier work done in the first few days is the best way to get through the job. However, if the worst comes to the worst and you need to ask for a deadline extension, make sure you do it face to face, rather than via email, as this gives you the best chance of getting a sympathetic ear. Hopefully these tips from this Saving Spot infographic will make difficult conversations like that a thing of the past.