7 Tips to Help You Meet Any Deadline

Regardless of how much you love your work, there will be instances when you find it hard to motivate yourself to work, much more to finish your work to meet your deadline.  This is normal and it happens to everyone from time to time. But during the slow times, you’re able to slack off a bit. A too-relaxed attitude, however, begins to cause waves when a deadline is looming and you have a project to finish.

These seven tips will help you to meet any deadline:

  1. Slow and steady wins the race. Unless it is a last-minute project, you’re likely given more than enough notice about the deadline. Try to break each project into manageable steps and chip away at the project one manageable step at a time.
  • When you break a large project down into manageable increments, you increase your chances of successfully meeting your deadline exponentially. Work at your project consistently instead of rushing to finish it at the last minute. This way you’ll likely be able to submit high-quality work well before the deadline.
  1. Create measurable objectives. Working towards a deadline without measurable objectives is not advisable. It is similar to trying to lose 10 pounds in a month without checking the weighing scale. It is best to create predefined daily goals that allow you to receive feedback on your progress. 
  • Provide further incentives for your efforts by pampering yourself with a small reward (like a cappuccino) each day you meet a goal. The incentive may give you the added boost of motivation to stay on track to meet your deadline.
  1. Overestimate the timeline. Occasionally, a project doesn’t run according to plan. There are always unanticipated problems and difficulties to overcome. If you anticipate that you’ll need three days to finish a project, tell your boss or client that you’ll need four or five days instead.
  • If you happen to complete the project before your quoted deadline, your employer or client will likely appreciate that. They’d like to think that you’ve “gone the extra mile” to turn the project in before the agreed deadline.
  1. Hold yourself accountable. A strong sense of accountability is 50% of the battle in meeting deadlines. For example, you’ve committed to submitting the material by a specific date.  It’s your responsibility to ensure that you submit it by the agreed-upon deadline. When you’re tempted to postpone, remind yourself about the consequences of being considered unreliable.
  1. Put yourself in your employer’s or client’s shoes. Let’s say you’re getting married and you hire a bakery to design your wedding cake. If the bakery committed that your cake would be at the reception site by 3:00 pm, you’d expect to see your cake by the agreed-upon time, right? The wedding cake is very important.  You’re counting on that cake for your wedding!  Its late arrival can certainly ruin your wedding day.
  • Similarly, you’re providing a service that someone is counting on. Depending on the task, you could cost your company or client thousands of dollars by missing your deadline.
  1. Let it burn. If you tend to postpone, think of ways to light a fire, motivate yourself and get the job done! Do whatever you must to motivate yourself to get moving. Generally, the more you have to lose, the more motivation you’ll find to meet your deadline.
  • An example of good motivation for yourself is to tell your wife that she can spend every dime of your paycheck on a shoe shopping trip if you submit your work on the agreed-upon deadline. If you miss the deadline, there will be no shopping spree.
  1. Offer a discount. Include a clause in your contract that states that the client will be granted a 10% discount if the material is turned in after the agreed-upon deadline. This will give your clients peace of mind, and it’ll motivate you to meet your deadlines so that you’re compensated fairly.

Whether you are a business owner, a contractor, or an employee, your livelihood depends on your ability to efficiently meet deadlines. Therefore, learning how to meet any deadlines you encounter is a key factor in maintaining a successful career.