We all know managing deadlines is crucial to project success.
Without a deadline in place, there’d be no sense of urgency, direction, or motivation to get anything done. That’s why scheduling due dates for tasks and deliverables is a must in project management.
Unfortunately, plenty of projects suffer delays, missed deadlines, and failure to follow up. And when a project slows down or fails, it can mean thousands of dollars down the drain and precious hours spent for nothing.
If you’re constantly missing your deadlines or rushing at the last minute, you can take the necessary steps to make important changes to your system.
The #1 reason you miss deadlines
Before we dive into the how, let’s take a moment to discuss why deadlines get missed in the first place. After all, understanding the driving force behind a delay can help you fight proactively against it.
It’s probably no surprise procrastination plays a big role in deadline management. But why do we procrastinate? Research shows we tend to avoid taking action if doing so brings up negative feelings, like anxiety, self-doubt, or boredom.
With this being said, the first step to meeting your deadlines is to treat them as sacred and crucial—to see them as a priority.
If procrastination creeps in, think about the positive impact you’ll have on the project. Consider everyone who’s accountable to the project, the time and effort you and your team have spent on the project, and the costs involved if you fail to meet them.
This mindset will help you stay focused and determined to work hard towards meeting all your project deadlines.
How to meet your project deadlines
Now let’s get a little more tactical and talk about ways to improve personal accountability.
How do you ensure you meet your own project deadlines every time? Here are 6 key steps you can implement into your existing workflow.
1. List out all your project tasks and deliverables.
Write them as action steps instead of vague and generic phrases for added motivation. If a task that’s assigned to you involves a few smaller steps, make a checklist so you can manage your time and track progress more clearly.
2. Set a reasonable deadline based on the complexity of work to be done.
You don’t want to make the mistake of setting a deadline you can’t meet. Analyze the complexity of the work, and estimate a reasonable amount of time needed to get it done.
A work breakdown structure can help you understand the scope of work better so you can estimate time and effort more accurately.
3. Add a reasonable cushion to every deadline.
A cushion is extra time given in case there are delays, problems, or issues that could in any way bring the project to a sudden halt.
You don’t want to overdo it, of course. But building even a small cushion into your time estimates makes it easier to meet your deadline, even if things don’t go as planned.
4. Work with an accountability partner.
Hitting a deadline is a whole lot easier when someone’s holding you to it. Whether it’s your project lead, a client, or a stakeholder, these people will keep you accountable and motivate you to meet your deadlines on schedule.
5. Focus on just one task atContinue reading