5 Ways to Stop Missing Work Deadlines - Daily Hudson Valley News

5 Ways to Stop Missing Work Deadlines

Nov 21st, 2014 | By | Category: Lifestyle

When I worked at The Culinary Institute of America, I’d roll into the parking lot every morning at 8:35 and whisk by my manager’s desk, coffee and buttered roll in hand, hoping she didn’t see me. I was late every day – sometimes I was five minutes behind, sometimes ten, more if I was stopped for speeding. Chronically behind schedule, work wasn’t the only thing I was late for – dinners with friends, holidays with family, trains to the city… If it was something with a designated time, you could bet your favorite Swatch watch that I’d be running late, brushing my hair and putting in my earrings as I walk-ran to my engagement.

That frazzled feeling gave me anxiety, heart burn, dizzy spells, and a smattering of angry people I didn’t want to face. One day, I decided to change my bad habit, to save myself the stress of doing everything at the last minute. To this day, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Except, I didn’t follow through entirely: I still miss work deadlines constantly. In an effort to completely change my ways, I’ve rounded up five tips for meeting project deadlines every time.

1. Ask for help. If you know you’re at risk of missing a deadline, go through each aspect of the project and determine if any of it can be outsourced. With a reliable Virtual Assistant (or a loyal pal), you can get double the work done in half the time.

2. An almost-missed deadline isn’t the same as an actual missed deadline. Remembering a task at the eleventh hour still gives you time to complete it. Focus, buckle down, and get it done – your client doesn’t need to know that the job almost slipped through the cracks.

3. Ask for additional time if you have a good reason for being behind. Maybe the job was more in-depth that you’d planned on and you need another few days to research. Maybe the client didn’t give you all of the necessary information to start out with and they’re actually the one who dropped the ball. If you truly need more time, ask for it – you’re moving the deadline, not missing it.

4. Set realistic deadlines, even if the client needs something done ASAP. If you need three days or one week or even more time to complete a project, be upfront about that. Some creative assignments require a solid few days of just thinking, followed by additional time to actually get everything down on paper. Often, my schedule’s too packed to squeeze anything in last minute, so if a client needs a project immediately, they have to pay extra.

5. Say “no” to projects that you don’t want or can’t handle. Keeping your schedule clear is one of the best ways to adhere to your important deadlines. Can I build that website? Sure. Do I want to? No, because I’m not a professional web designer, it’s a complete headache to create a website, and it’s not going to advance my career one bit.

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Lindsay Pietroluongo is a full-time freelance writer in the Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal and Chronogram magazine. Lindsay also writes business content and marketing materials for professionals through her boutique writing company Poison Apple Ink and runs a lifestyle blog And the Pursuit. Visit Lindsay on the Rocks to learn more. Lindsay can be seen on Hudson Valley Insider each Thursday under the Lifestyle section.

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