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Three Simple Rules For Managing Deadlines

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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Three Simple Rules For Managing Deadlines

Three Simple Rules For Managing Deadlines

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

forbes.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

Communicate consequences and payoffs

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

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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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.

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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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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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