“I love deadlines!” – what kind of crazy person would say that? Actually, a very special crazy: Douglas Adams, the author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. However, he explains himself: “I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Well, there’s no way to disagree. The hardest part is when your time management can’t handle so many deadlines. So this post is for you, who ask yourself everyday how to make you task list empty. Go ahead!
Why do we miss deadlines?
The Sydney Opera House was supposed to be completed in 1963, for $7 million. Guess what. A scaled-back version opened 10 years late, in 1973, with a final price tag of $102 million. Then you think: “I’m not that bad…” However, the same reason that delayed the Opera House building prevents you to deliver your tasks on time: The Optimistic Planning.
We tend to underestimate how long we need to finish a task. We are not born knowing how to make a great time management. The problem is that we keep failing, without learning the lesson, because we can’t plan and blame external factors – colleagues who dropped by, the boss who delegated too many tasks, your thousands of e-mails, meetings, more emails, sleep, stress and so on.
When you plan your day or your week, some deadlines seem far and under control. Result: you will only do something when you can no longer ignore them. And here it goes your health down the drain, once you don’t know where to start to fix your delay… All because you were too optimistic and planned without taking into account the unforeseen interruptions and that natural urge to give up.
How to stop missing them
A task will always take the time you think it will take to do it. Never less, but almost invariably more time. That’s why, no matter how disciplined we are, we need deadlines to be productive. According to the NYMag editor, Melissa Dahl, “deadlines are often the only reason people ever get anything done.” So, let’s see the strategies you will use from now, not to lose any deadline in your career:
1. Now, you have a 3-day week. Plan with it.
Starting today, plan your tasks taking into account that your week ends on Wednesday. Distribute all the hardest tasks and most important tasks between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The other days you leave opened. Having a lighter workload on Thursday and Friday, you will be able to adapt your journey when run into the unexpected, but without all that stress you live today.
2. You need technology. Use a task manager.
Now that you have the planning of your smart 3-day week, put all your to-do in your task manager, because it will organize your routine. Just set the delivery date of each task to two or three days before the optimistic deadline (it’s because of it that you get stressed, remember?). The tool will set for you an order of priority and notify you when to start scheduled and repetitive tasks – a great idea for those who live under the impression that it’s missing something.
3. You may try to give up. Make a public commitment.
“I solemnly swear to finish this task at 5pm.” This is not exactly what you need to do, but it’s something like that. If you make a commitment only to yourself, no one will know if you don’t fulfil it. So tell your to-do in a loud tone to your leader or some colleague you admire. With vanity at stake, you may even be late, but it won’t be for lack of will – and that’s a big step to becoming the more productive person you have ever known.
(Bonus) 10 times when things got pretty weird at work
The American consulting CareerBuilder led a survey to discover the most insanely unproductive moments of professionals, when they were doing anything instead of working. These are the best cases:
1. Employee was taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink.
2. Employee was trying to hypnotize other employees to stop their smoking habits.
3. Employee was visiting a tanning bed in lieu of making deliveries.
4. Employee was looking for a mail order bride.
5. Employee was playing a video game on their cell phone while sitting in a bathroom stall.
6. Employee was drinking vodka while watching Netflix.
7. Employee was sabotaging another employee’s car tires.
8. Employee was sleeping on the CEO’s couch.
9. Employee was flying drones around the office.
10. Employee was printing pictures of animals, naming them after employees and hanging them in the work area.
You’re closer than ever to forget the time when you missed deadlines. After all, you already understood how to plan your week. All you need is to find the right technology to manage your tasks and work in peace. Runrun.it is the tool chosen by more than 100,000 companies worldwide, thanks to its unique ability to automate bureaucratic tasks and increase by 25% the productivity of teams. So, try Runrun.it for free.