“I love deadlines; I especially like the SWOOSHING sound they make as they fly past.” (Douglas Adams)
I love this quote by Douglas Adams. It always gives me a laugh, and I keep it posted where I can see it as the deadlines pile up. If you are like me, you have tons of deadlines too! Some are imposed by others (I’m working on 3 client projects with due dates of year’s end or earlier) and others are self-imposed (I’m starting to write a book and am setting a deadline for a first draft for 4 months down the road).
How do you manage your deadlines? What is your plan for working towards meeting those deadlines? Here are some ideas of what has worked for me:
- Keep a task list in Microsoft Outlook, or similar, of all your projects and synch to your mobile phone is possible.
- My “to do” lists are broken down into single, specific tasks related to the entire project – this way larger projects are broken down into smaller tasks and you can see how you are progressing toward completion.
- For long term projects, work toward it on a daily or weekly basis – for example, I keep a journal with me and jot down ideas for my book each day and each day I write a few sentences.
- For larger projects, develop project plans with milestones and track your progress regularly.
- Schedule time each day to work on your projects. Especially if you are in meetings often – block time on your calendar so you can work on your projects. Don’t answer email, don’t answer the phone, don’t get on the Internet – concentrate on your work. Give yourself at least an hour to concentrate.
- If you are a morning person, block time in the morning to work on your projects. If you do better later in the afternoon, block time then.
Be practical! You’re only one person and cloning yourself isn’t a possibility. If a deadline isn’t reasonable you are only going to frustrate yourself trying to reach it. Push back when you necessary.
Any other ideas? Share some of your best practices for managing your deadlines with others in the Comments field below. Thanks!