How to Use Deadlines to Your Advantage

Julie Shenkman
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Whether you have deadlines set by a teacher, a boss or yourself, they are fantastic tools to help you manage time, motivate yourself and get the job quickly. When you know how to use deadlines correctly, they become a benefit instead of a strain. Check out these tips on how to manage your time and reap the advantages of deadlines.

Determine Your Priorities

Use deadlines for time management by creating a priority list. Before you start any work, make a list of everything you need to get done and by when. Write the most important tasks at the top and end with the lease important. The list allows you to keep track of everything you need to get done and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed. With a good list, you don’t forget what you need to accomplish or end up working on unimportant tasks and leaving the most important ones until the last minute.

Ignore the Tasks That Don’t Matter

The world around you doesn’t stop just because you have a deadline to meet. Small activities such as reading emails, replying to text messages and checking your social media accounts eat away at your time. One text message doesn’t waste much time, but as you continue to reply to emails or text messages throughout the day, time adds up quickly. Before you know it, you waste hours on tasks that are not important, and your deadline is fast approaching. Use deadlines to keep your mind focused, and ignore the tasks that don’t matter.

Let the Pressure Motivate You

Deadlines put pressure on you, and if you do not handle it properly, it only creates stress. Instead of letting your deadlines control you, use them to push you forward, keeping you focused on the task. A deadline is a goal, and everyone gets more done when they have a clear goal in mind. Without a goal, it’s easy to become distracted or give up. Keep your deadline in mind and let it motivate you.

Use The Parkinson’s Law

Even if you don’t have them set by a boss or teacher, you can still use deadlines help you accomplish your work using The Parkinson’s Law. The Parkinson’s Law states that, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." For example, if you give yourself a week to accomplish something, it will take you a week, but if you give yourself two weeks, it will take you two weeks. For creating your own deadlines, use The Parkinson’s Law. Estimate how long you think it takes to complete a task, and cut that time in half. Set up a timer where you can see it and get started.

Don’t let deadlines create stress in your life. Instead, use deadlines as a motivational tool. Even when no one provides you with a clear deadline, create your own. The advantages of deadlines let you focus on your work and get more done in less time.


(Photo courtesy of jesadaphorn / freedigitalphotos.net)

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