Managing Deadlines


A deadline is the final time a task must be completed by. It’s crucial to create deadlines for yourself to help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to complete a project at school, university or work – or achieve a personal goal – it’s important to set realistic deadlines for yourself. Failing to meet deadlines results in serious consequences.

Why deadlines matter

It’s easy to delay or forget a task. When creating a deadline for yourself, it forces you to think through the steps you need to achieve it. Each step will require a certain amount of time – and that will better inform how long it will take you to finish the project. Visualizing all the steps involved (and finishing it) can help motivate you to start tackling each small step.

Deadlines encourage you to think about what it will take to accomplish your goal and set expectations.

How to meet deadlines

Make sure it’s realistic

Agreeing to an unreasonable deadline can lead you to feeling overwhelmed. If you are aware that a certain task is not achievable by the date it has been assigned to you-  then don’t agree to it. Approve deadlines that are doable.

Make a commitment

If you agree to meet a deadline, then you should be committed to doing so. If you have a poor attitude towards delivering your tasks when expected, it affects your productivity.

Understand what the deadline requires

Before agreeing and committing to a deadline, make sure you understand the requirements.  One of the important things you must know is the date and time of the deadline.

Make notes

When you’re assigned a task that needs to be completed before a date and time provided, make sure to take some notes. Make use of your notes by writing an effective task list that will help you become more efficient.

Break the task down so it is manageable

Breaking up tasks into a series of smaller tasks makes them easier to complete and prevents you from waiting until the last minute to finish your work.

Divide your time

Allocate to yourself a period each day that is just for working on your task and working towards the deadline. During this period, you focus your attention on the task and meeting the deadline on time.

Work longer hours if necessary

If you are committed to meeting a deadline, you may have to work extra hours. This will involve having to perform better, but as long as you meet the deadline it’s worth it.

Managing Yourself

One important factor to be successful in meeting a deadline is managing yourself. Here are 4 tips on how to manage yourself when meeting a deadline:

Adjust your mindset

Adopt a positive mindset and attitude towards deadlines as they help you achieve goals.

Be assertive

Give yourself space to evaluate a deadline before agreeing to it.

Use your time productively

Avoid trying to multitask as it isn’t efficient. Keep track of your time to help you work more effectively, especially when becoming close to deadlines.

Ask for help

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. If you need, ask somebody for assistance.

Make meeting deadlines a habit

Start by working towards smaller deadlines in your daily work and use this practice when bigger deadlines arise.

When managing deadlines consider the following:

  • Evaluate what’s required

Make sure you understand the requirements of the tasks and deadline.

  • Have the right resources

Make sure you have the correct resources to complete your tasks.  Will you have the people, technical support, equipment, training, or materials ready and available in time? 

Helping others meet deadlines

You can help others succeed to meet deadlines by encouraging them to develop their self confidence and supporting them to handle the pressure of deadlines.