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How to Make Deadlines Less Stressful and More Motivational

Share your goals and progress

While we recognize our own procrastination and try to curb it via self-imposed deadlines, these aren't always as effective as deadlines set for them by others.

If you don't have a boss or project sponsor who's setting deadlines for you, it might be worth asking someone to become your accountability partner.

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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...
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.

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.

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 availab...

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. 

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.