Nobody likes deadline busting, and in the PR business, completing projects on time is critical. Whether it’s finishing a new business proposal, writing a seasonal PR plan or editing that byline – every PR pro juggles deadlines.
As we can all probably attest, missing deadlines can erode credibility, while delivering on time helps earn you a reputation for dependability –a professional and reliable resource. Here are four ways to strengthen your deadline-meeting practice.
Less Is More. It really is! Oftentimes we miss our deadlines because our to-do lists are piled so high it would be impossible to accomplish everything on time. By paring down our action-item list to only the essentials, we clear the way for smoother execution and higher quality, as author Greg McKeown outlines in his best seller, Essentialism.
Write things down, and keep them in front of you. Not everyone is a visual person, but having some kind of a physical reminder is a proven way to make sure we stick to deadlines. Whether it’s a pen-and-paper list or an app that pings you when you’re approaching your deadline, reminders and signposts don’t just keep us on top of our projects, they help free the mind to focus on the task at hand without worrying about what’s coming later, according to the productivity guru David Allen.
Give yourself more time! As in, not busting the deadline, but better estimating how long a task will take at the outset. Most of us tend to underestimate how much time things take, over-program, and then scramble to get things done. Starting with a more reasonable expectation is one good way to make sure deadlines are met.
Learn to manage expectations. If you need a large chunk of time for a project, do the people waiting for your work product know the job at hand? Does it require a lot of research? Is there much back-and-forth between different parties involved? Communicating what’s going on and what a job entails is a simple way to manage expectations, which goes a long way towards sticking to a timeline.