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Three Simple Rules For Managing Deadlines

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2019/04/01/three-simple-rules-for-managing-deadlines/

forbes.com

Three Simple Rules For Managing Deadlines
When things get busy at work, we can sometimes get lazy about deadlines. We neglect to set them at all. We are vague about them. Or we cut to the chase by saying we need things "right away," "soon," or "ASAP."

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Procrastination Paradox

The more time we are given to complete a task, the longer we will take to do it. 

This is similar to Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” 

We often procrastinate if we do not set deadlines, especially if the expectations of difficulty and importance are unclear.

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Urgency Bias

Urgency Bias

When we are facing multiple deadlines, we often tend to focus on the tasks in front of us rather than the ones that seem far off, regardless of how important they might be. 

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Planning Fallacy

The farther away a deadline, the more unrealistic and abstracted our planning becomes. The closer a deadline, the more focussed and productive we become.

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Self-Imposed Vs External

study on procrastination and deadlines found that some people may be able to set their own deadlines and stick to them, but when deadlines are set externally, we are often better at keeping them.

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Prioritize deadlines

 ... based on importance, not time. 

Prioritize your projects based on importance first, and your employees will use Parkinson’s Law and urgency bias to their best advantage. 

If a project has low importance, set it a bit farther out.

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Communicate consequences and payoffs

Mention the impact and positive results of completing the assignment. Employees will have more meaning and purpose to overcome procrastination.

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Cultivate trust

Employees will be more motivated into staying on top of deadlines if managers set a good example by being consistent, supportive and trustworthy.  

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Start right away

We get so caught up in researching and thinking about a project that the anxiety to create something great can build up. 

Start immediately. You can even make small amounts of progress e...

Focus

If you have a few projects at a time, focus on one. Work with intense focus. Do not allow distractions.

When you feel your motivation slows down, switch to another project.

Prioritize

If we are just ticking things off our to-do list without any order, the important tasks may not get completed.

Determine the urgency of your tasks to figure out which requires priority. 

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. 

Regularly spacing the deadlin...

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.

Prerequisites for Effective Time Management

Trying to apply time management tools without having prerequisite time management skills is unlikely to work effectively. The prerequisites are:

  • Awareness about time being a limited reso...

Steps To Improve Time Management

The way to improve your Time Management skills requires us to figure out where to focus. This can be done by:

  • Getting an objective self-assessment done by your peers or boss, or establishing a baseline behavior to measure your performance against.
  • Understanding that it is your skills, not your personality or preferences that can be developed to provide the best results.
  • Identifying the key skill(s) that you need to prioritize, and avoiding spreading yourself too thin.

    Developing Awareness Skills

    The key factor to consider when developing awareness skills is that effectiveness (doing things well) is as important as efficiency (doing things fast).

    • Find which time of the day is your 'peak performance time.
    • Treat time as money, a limited resource, and create a 'time budget' for your to-do list.
    • Measure and evaluate the projected time vs the actual time taken.
    • Consider which of the tasks create follow-up tasks that take up your time later.
    • Take into consideration the 'opportunity cost' of spending time in an activity.