Want to be more productive?

By Mel Sim

Set a deadline…

Scenario A: Your boss gives you a deadline to finish a project and yups, you actually get it done on time. Scenario B: Your boss tells you to finish a project without a proper timeline and yups, you are scrambling to get it done, cutting close to when you should actually hand it in.

Which are you – A or B? If your answer is B, then here’s what you need to know: Deadlines, even though a simple concept, is a powerful time-management technique that can help you be more productive and focused at the job.

This is because when you actually give yourself a date to finish something, you’re giving yourself a concrete goal to work towards. And if you didn’t set a date, the task at hand seems a bit ambiguous, without a real goal to work towards on when you need to finish it.


Now let’s see why deadlines work.

Deadlines work as a priority. In the sense that when you give a project a deadline, you’re giving it some sense of priority to get it finish by that deadline. It makes life easier for you when juggling your workload – if you have something due on Friday, you’re not about to take on a major project that also needs to be completed at around the same time.

The most important thing about a deadline too? That when you meet it, you get this thrill and sense of achievement that yay, you did it! That ego boost is exactly what you need to drive your productivity, giving you a sense of purpose to Get. It. Done.

At the same time, with a deadline, you are able to schedule your work better, which means you don’t have to deal with the unnecessary stress of trying to get everything done at the same time. Pacing yourself using deadlines is not only important to help you manage your busy month but it is a great way to help you focus on what needs to be done first and how you plan to do so,

So if you dread the word “deadline”, you got it all wrong. In fact, you should embrace it! Here are some tips how to make deadlines work for your productivity level.

#1 Give it an actual date, and not something in the near future
You are more likely to abide to your deadlines if it is more concrete like “Friday before lunch” instead of “sometime next month”. So look through your calendar and your to-do list, and jot in those deadlines.

#2 Be realistic
When do deadlines not work? When you give yourself unrealistic ones. You need to give yourself sufficient time to complete a task. Poor deadline planning not only compromises the quality of your work but you are more stressed trying to meet that unrealistic deadline. So be real about what you can achieve.

#3 Make it count
That calendar looks good with all your deadlines planned out. Now, it will only work if you actually follow them! Set reminders, give yourself a reward when you actually meet the deadline… anything to make you stay on course.

#4 Got a huge project? Break it down into small subtasks
Then give those subtasks a deadline of their own, making them more actionable for you to have a detailed plan of action that will work towards completing the big project.

Got any tips for us regarding deadlines? Tweet us at @Graduan

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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