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Deadlines: How Effective Time Constraints Can Boost Productivity

https://effectiviology.com/deadlines/

effectiviology.com

Deadlines: How Effective Time Constraints Can Boost Productivity
Deadlines are a simple but powerful time-management technique that can help you become much more productive if you know how to implement them properly. In the following article, you will first learn a bit about the concept of deadlines, and about why using them can be beneficial.

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Why deadlines are effective

Why deadlines are effective
  • They can reduce the likelihood that you will procrastinate.
  • They help make your goals feel more concrete, by attaching them to a specific timeline.
  • They help you pursue your goals and complete tasks in a timely manner by serving as a precommitment device.
  • They can also help you get things done on time by providing you with structure.

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How to set effective deadlines

  • Deadlines should be concrete. You are much more likely to abide by concrete deadlines.
  • Deadlines should be realistic. When choosing a deadline for a task, you should pick one that gives you a sufficient amount of time to complete the task.
  • Deadlines should be meaningful. You should make sure that you can’t just ignore your deadlines, and that there is some motivation for you to adhere to it.

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Deadlines aren’t a perfect solution

Though deadlines can often help you avoid procrastinating, research also shows that they don’t always work, and there are situations where increased flexibility can be better, in terms of personal productivity.

As such, you should always assess the situation at hand, in order to determine whether setting deadlines will help you or not.

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Set multiple deadlines

A way to create less stressful deadlines is to break large projects into smaller tasks. Set a deadline for each task instead of just one final deadline. 

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Yerkes-Dodson law

The Yerkes-Dodson law states that the more mental arousal there is in doing a task, the more efficient a person becomes. After you get to a certain threshold, your performance begins to decrease.

An appropriate quantity of stress should inspire increased productivity.

Your ideal stress level

Difficult tasks require low levels of stress, while easy tasks require high levels of stress to trigger mental arousal.

The next time you set a deadline, try placing a rush deadline for easier tasks and set your deadline far out for more difficult projects.

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Single Task

Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.

Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” 

Setting your own deadlines

Create artificial deadlines for yourself. Understand that you can save yourself a load of stress by acting as if something is due earlier than it actually is.

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Leveraging help

If you are worried others will view you as inept if you ask for help, you most likely will procrastinate, and even more pressure will build up, as the deadline rapidly approaches. 

You can reduce this by leaving your ego at the door and simply asking others for help. Another way to get help from others is to ask for an extension - it can make a world of difference in the way you feel. But don't abuse this.