Donít Let Deadlines Do You In
Constant pressure to meet deadlines has become an integral part of the work culture in todayís world. Letís look at some things that can help make dealing with time limits easier.
Try to see deadlines as challenges. Is this an opportunity for you to show what you can accomplish within a given amount of time? Is this a way to demonstrate your organizational and time management skills? Can your enthusiasm for meeting deadlines serve as a morale builder for the rest of your organization? Learning to deal with deadlines may help you be more efficient with your time.
Look for patterns if deadlines are assigned on a regular basis. Set time aside for these requests by re-labeling them as anticipated parts of the schedule so that this process can relieve some of the pressure of unpredictable deadlines.
If a deadline concerns an unplanned emergency situation, let the giver know you can accept this time but may not be able to accept this type of deadline in the future. Being open and honest about your ability to handle last minute requests is not unreasonable. It means that you cannot always adjust time factors without seriously affecting other responsibilities.
In setting a deadline, evaluate each situation in terms of its true need to be a deadline. Must this task be completed at an exact time? Will the end result be the same if you finish this task at another time? Donít set so many deadlines for yourself that deadlines begin to lose their meaning. An overload of deadlines sometimes results in needless stress. Stagger deadlines for large projects. Breathing room between these time crunches gives time for reflection and reappraisal.
Try to set deadlines for only the important things as the less important things sometimes take care of themselves. Re-evaluate your work and personal goals in order to look at the broad perspective. What is important to you, your family, and your professional growth? Are the deadlines imposed upon you allowing you to maintain your priorities? Broad goals often need less definite deadlines.
Check to see if you are over labeling situations as needing deadlines because of your own lack of organization, procrastination or your time urgent manner.
And finally, when you are setting deadlines for other people, be considerate. If it isnít a true deadline, let them know that the timeline to finish is negotiable and flexible. Strive to make deadlines stress reducers, not stress inducers.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright ©2010