The pressure of the clock - How to meet deadlines

April 11, 2017

Coincidentally, this post about meeting deadlines was due on the Friday I left for vacation, and I didn't begin working on it until Thursday. I had the deadline, clearly marked and assigned to me weeks ago, but until I got the reminder a few days before, it totally slipped my mind.
Now, here I am the Thursday before, up to my eyeballs in packing lists and to-do's and I'm totally juiced to write this post! Why? Because the thrill of the deadline can be the adrenaline rush I need to get the job done. But, for others, it can be a looming internal whisper of, "Why didn't you do this already?" Or, to those free spirits out there, it's just an arbitrary set of numbers thrown to the wind, because you know no one will hold you to it.
Let's face it. No matter how you feel about deadlines, they're crucial. They can be uncomfortable. They can feel controlling. But, if we didn't have them, our world, as we know it, would fall into chaos. 
So, how do you best meet deadlines? How do you lean into the pressure of the clock? Here are my three quick tips for not missing a deadline.
1. You need it when? When someone, whether it be a co-worker, spouse or friend asks you for assistance on a project or a favor, THE first question to ask is "What's your deadline?". Knowing whether you have five months or five minutes will change the entire tone and depth of the conversation. A deadline can be a DEADLINE!!!!!! or a d-e-a-d-l-i-n-e. Determine what you're facing first so expectations are clear.

2. Who's watching the clock? Deadlines are useless unless someone's keeping you accountable! What if the news anchor got started at 5:03-ish? What if you sometimes pushed worship to Monday mornings instead, because your week just got too packed? Find someone or something to hold you accountable for meeting your deadlines.

3. Who else is depending on me? Missing a deadline can, and usually does, have a ripple effect on others and their time and work. If you make a habit of blowing them off, you're sending a message that you don't care about the impact your decisions have on others. Next time you tell yourself it can wait, remember who else is depending on you.

And, as the always punctual Benjamin Franklin once reminded us, "Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today." 
Lindsay Dudeck

Lead Communications Strategist