5 Tips for Meeting Work Deadlines


Don't Procrastinate

Don't let deadlines sneak up on you.
Don't let deadlines sneak up on you.
Grove Pashley/Getty Images

If a deadline is two weeks (or two months) away, it can be hard to get started during the first week. There's no sense of urgency. We all fall prey to that feeling of, "I have plenty of time to get this done. I'll work on something else for now." Then, suddenly the deadline is two days away and you haven't even started on the project yet. Or, even worse, you start early and get a few minor things done (not a bad idea by itself), but then feel satisfied that you've made progress and wait too long to get the hard parts completed.

Procrastination might actually be the hardest thing to overcome. Luckily, the solution is pretty simple. All you have to do is break a project down into smaller parts, and then create a schedule that lets you complete each part at different points in the time leading up to the final deadline. You're basically making a bunch of smaller "sub-deadlines" that will incrementally get you to your goal. For example, if you had a week to write a five-page article on meeting work deadlines, your schedule might say: "Monday -- Finish Page 1. Tuesday -- Finish Page 2." And so on.

By the way, that calendar we suggested on the previous page should come in very handy for this.