A lot of technical professionals have to deal with fast-paced, deadline driven environments. Unfortunately technical professionals are often saddled with multiple deadlines at once or deadlines set by someone who doesn’t understand the time involved in a certain project. Whichever challenges you’re facing if you follow these tips you’ll never miss a deadline again!
1. Public Commitment: When you’re setting a goal for yourself, whether it’s for side projects or self-driven work in your current job, it’s easier to stick to your deadline when others are expecting you to. Set a deadline and let people know when that deadline is so that their expectations help hold you accountable and remind you when the deadline is coming soon.
2. Set Automated Reminders: If you can’t rely on your boss, your coworkers, or your clients to remind you frequently about deadlines you can always count on technology! Set reminders in your work email or on your phone that will help you count down to your upcoming deadline. Additionally, you can include motivational quotes to help keep you on a productive path to finish your work before your deadline.
3. Have Mini-Deadlines Along the Way: One major project deadline way down the road isn’t as motivating as several small deadlines that happen frequently. You can divide your project up as soon as you understand the full workload and give yourself several min-deadlines along the way to help motivate you and help you hit your major deadline down the road, rather than having work pile up at the end and become overwhelming.
4. Give Yourself A Buffer: If there’s one thing you can count on when working with technology it’s unexpected errors, bugs, or features taking longer to develop than you anticipated. When you’re setting your initial deadline and planning smaller deadlines along the way make sure to give yourself a few days buffer by setting the main deadline a couple days before it’s actually due. This will help you make sure the work is completely finished on time and save you a little time to add any finishing touches, discover any unseen errors, or turn in the project before the official deadline hits.
5. Fully Loaded Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Mornings: When you’re planning your workload and anticipating an upcoming deadline it’s better to front load your mornings earlier in the week in case certain elements take longer than anticipated or unexpected errors occur. Leave your afternoons fairly free for other projects or tasks that weren’t completed in the morning and you’ll feel a lot less overwhelmed heading into your weekends.
Deadlines are a reality in most jobs but they’re particularly prevalent and fast-paced in IT. Anyone who is intimidated by deadlines should fear no more with these five tips at their side. If you never want to miss a deadline again these five tips will become your new best friend!