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Deadlines: How Effective Time Constraints Can Boost Productivity

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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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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 person...

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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...

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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 sho...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.

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Brian Tracy

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

Brian Tracy

Work Around Your Energy Levels

Productivity is directly related to your energy level.

Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.

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The Easily Distracted

Getting sidetracked by minor concerns and are never quite able to bring the focus that you need to larger projects.

What to do: Build extra time when ...

The Under-estimator

You routinely fail to complete tasks because you underestimate the time necessary to finish them.

What to do: Assume as a rule that things will take longer than you expect. Start earlier than you think you need to in order to have a buffer for eventualities. Also, investigate how long past assignments took and why, and identify patterns there that can guide future decisions.

The Fire Fighter

Everything feels like a crisis to you and you spend much of your time putting out fires, leaving you without much time for your biggest priorities.

What to do: Identify your most important goals. List the things you need to accomplish within a given timeframe. Work on other items only if you finish your must-do’s for the timeframe. Also, try setting aside “work blocks” on your calendar to work on your highest priorities, and don’t let yourself schedule over them.

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