Webs, Weeds and Wisdom | Time to meet the deadline

Deadline: ‘a time or day by which something must be done‘ (https://dictionary.cambridge.org)

Do you have trouble meeting deadlines? Do you know that your work reputation is often based on the quality of your work and your ability to meet deadlines? Do you know that poor time management can often lead to missing deadlines, stress and problems?

As we begin the new year, I thought it was worth looking at this topic: as much for me as for you, and even for your children and their school work.

Deadlines

Take them seriously.

If you are setting the deadlines, give yourself enough time to complete the work and then add add a little extra time for problems that may arise.

Break a big job into smaller chunks with a deadline for each to keep you on track.

If you find it is going to be hard to make your deadline, work long hours to finish on time. (This is why I am writing this at midnight tonight!)

If you really can’t finish on time, communicate this to those affected as soon as you realise the problem, and try to negotiate some extra time if this is possible.

Time management

As you can see, good time management skills are needed in order to meet most deadlines. These skills must be learned. It is best if we teach children some of these at an early age and then continue to add to our skills throughout life.

Some hints for time management include:

1. Make a list of jobs to do.

2. Prioritise these and then break them down to manageable sections.

3. Add these job deadlines to your calendar with programmed reminders.

4. Block off periods of time to work on your task. Use your best time for the most important tasks. My best time used to be after dinner, but for many people it would be some time in the morning.

5. Keep distractions to a minimum: have all information/equipment at hand, work in an appropriate place, keep your phone away unless it is part of this task (put it on silent or do not disturb and let it go to voice mail) and if you get tempted by Facebook, computer games or websites, set daily limits or a block on these.

5. Prioritise: List three goals that you want to achieve during this period of time and do them first, then move on to others.

6. If you can’t get started, just start. If this is a written task, just begin writing and you can come back and reorder and fix it up later.

7. Breaking up a task into smaller goals can make the task seems more achievable. Try for some half hour intensive work periods with specific goals. One of my colleagues used to say ‘inch by inch, it’s a cinch‘.

8. Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and allow yourself (in fact force yourself) to take breaks every hour or so.

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