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How many deadlines have you stuck to in the last month? I’ll bet there’s at least one you’ve missed which has ended with you writing a grovelling email to your client. But why is it that we just can’t seem to stick to our deadlines?

Sometimes you haven’t prioritised tasks well, and the most important task has been left to the last minute. Or, maybe you’re trying to get your work completed in big chunks but you’re struggling to concentrate. Whatever the reason, it needs to change. Especially if you’re planning on gaining new clients and taking your workload up a notch.

Research and Plan

Planning for any kind of obstacle when you’re picking a deadline is vital in order to choose the most reasonable date and time.

Make time to consider every step and task you’ll have to compete in order to gain the perfect end result, rather than just estimating how long the whole project might roughly take you to complete. The more specific you are in your planning and research, the more accurate the deadline will be. Make sure you take into consideration your out of work activities.

You might not think that your mum’s birthday meal is worth including, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Trial and Error

Sometimes the only way you can plan for a deadline is through trying and failing, and trying again.

It can become quite discouraging after a few errors, but the main thing to remember is the end goal. Big businesses like Apple didn’t get everything right the first time, but it was their continued persistence that built them into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Although it may seem counter-productive at first when you keep missing deadlines, eventually you will get it right for good and find the perfect deadline that keeps you at your most productive.

Review Missed Deadlines

Once you’ve used the trial and error method, the trial part will only follow once you’ve decided why your previous deadlines didn’t work.

Maybe it was because your Corrie was on at the same time, and you didn’t want to miss it – or perhaps you didn’t give yourself enough time to get everything completed to a standard you were happy with.

Whatever the reason, you should always make time to go over these failed deadlines, and consider why they didn’t work, and what you can learn from this for the next deadline.

Mini Deadlines

Cutting anything up into smaller chunks makes it more manageable and less intimidating. This works for cake, a bottle of wine and your deadlines. If you don’t believe us, feel free to try it out for yourself!

Grab a notepad and plan out every aspect of your deadline and decide what the smaller milestones you can make are.

Be Realistic

There’s no worse crime committed than those who aren’t realistic with their deadlines. OK, maybe we’re exaggerating a tad, but it is one of the worst things you can do in terms of creating a deadline.

You might be giving yourself too much time, and therefore limiting the amount of work you could be doing on other projects.

Alternatively, you could be giving yourself too little time and not creating work you’re not happy with, and more importantly, that your client isn’t happy with.

Be Goldilocks, and find the perfect in between deadline that works for you!

What’s your perfect deadline? Leave us a comment in the section below!

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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