The Walking Dead…lines

July 8, 2021

The Walking Dead...lines

Since cavemen had to go out and bring back food at the end of the day, till today where influencers had to have a certain number of likes, follows, or subscriptions, deadlines in the workplace have been a thing to be dreaded. In actuality, knowing when a deadline allows for proper planning, which allows for an easier time managing projects. You shouldn’t fear deadlines, you should get as many details as possible.

The Importance Of Deadlines

Deadlines set expectations, they usually include the necessary details and scope of the work that needs to be finished. Without a clear goal, you won’t be able to measure your progress, so make sure everything is cleared up. Deadlines can help you figure out what you need to work on in order to become more successful at work. For example, if you couldn’t finish a writing project, you could backtrack and see which section took you the longest and from there you can develop a training program for you that allows you to improve in that area.

Account For The Unexpected

Murphy’s law states that, “if something can go wrong, it will go wrong.” Knowing this, you should allow yourself enough time to finish your work in the event of an unplanned interruption. This doesn’t mean literally planning for an earthquake or even pinpointing what could go wrong, it means quantifying the amount of time needed to work around potential setbacks. You only need enough wiggle room to still deliver what is expected, if it comes to it, overtime is an option.

Create A Detailed Schedule

Having just mentioned Murphy’s law, create a schedule that allows you to break up your large task into smaller bite sized parts. If your deadline is in a week, you need to know what to do to finish. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say you have to write a 10 page essay due in a month for this example. Breaking it down to half a day where you research, the rest of that day goes to planning or outlining, then a draft stage, but you break that 1st draft into 1 or 2 pages a day, in 1 or 2 weeks you’ll be done with that draft, then you can spend a day editing and repeat the writing process, where the 2nd draft is written 1-2 pages a day. You’d be done before the month ends.

Break Up Your Tasks

Small wins can boost happiness in the workplace which in turn, boosts efficiency. Having small enough tasks where you can have a win at the end of the day, or even multiple, is good for your morale. On the same note, overloading yourself is bad for productivity. Humans aren’t built for multitasking and splitting your mind between two tasks is going to get you nowhere fast.

The other major upside to breaking up your tasks is, it’s ability to help combat procrastination. Tim Urban hypothesized that procrastination happens due to a need for instant gratification and a person’s ability, or in this case, inability to choose what needs to be done over instant dopamine hit. By breaking up large tasks into smaller one, as stated before, gives you a sense of accomplishment that helps drive away the need to procrastinate.

Getting And Giving Help

Getting help can come in many forms, the big difference in how that comes is dependent on if you’re a manager or not. If you are a manager, getting help or advice comes from other managers, as well as, when you delegate work to others who can do the job. If you’re in a non managerial position, getting help involves asking for information that will help speed up the process.

Giving help, no matter your position, usually comes in the form of motivating someone else or giving key information which would help someone complete a task. Teaching someone how to use an organizational tool for example, is giving someone the information to organize better which leads to deadlines being met. Doing the task for someone else while it wasn’t assigned to you, actually negatively impacts the working dynamic in a team and should be avoided whenever possible.

The Takeaway

Knowing why deadlines are given is important. It’s not so your boss can give you a hard time, it’s because you need to be prepared for the task. If you change your view on deadlines and start using them as a tool to succeed, deadlines become extremely important to your workflow. Knowing the “what” and “when” is critical when creating a schedule for success. Try it the next time you’re given a deadline and chances are you’ll come out of the task feeling much better than before.