Set Hard Deadlines and Be Happy


We’ve made it to another new year. In order to get off on the right foot, let’s set some accountability boundaries for this year’s projects. If you have been on a yearly cycle of project procrastination and disorganization, I implore you to set hard deadlines for any goal, project, or task for the year ahead.

No Plan Is No Good

Before I run through all the reasons why you should implement deadlines into your project management plans, let’s run through what happens when you don’t.

  • Procrastination Station
    • You will keep putting off the “dreadful” tasks instead of just getting them done.
  • No Motivation
    • We tend to be less motivated without the consequences of a missed completion date. Deadlines are motivators.
  • No Deadline = Work Pile-Ups
    • The item(s) you continue to put off will pile up into, what will feel like, an impossible list. (See number 4.)
  • No Prioritization
    • Have you ever had a to-do list with a million items that must be done at once? This will ultimately overwhelm both you and your team members. It’s no fun for anyone.
  • Missed New Year’s Goals
    • It’s a revolving door, like those that sign up at the gym on January 1, only to return one year later. You know who you are.

Benefits Of Accountability

So, you get the idea. Without a deadline, you could be setting yourself up for failure. The good news is you still have control over your upcoming tasks. Through prioritization, you will get your tasks done on time and maximize productivity. You will also notice your workflow is more consistent, efficient, and effective. And, since you have stuck to your deadlines, followed through on your projects, and checked items off your list, you have successfully accomplished your goals. Well, look at that.

Simple Ways to Start

All the above sounds great if you can find a place to start. Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. Here are some simple ways to kick off your new, organized workflow.

  • Break down the task or project.
    • Make sure that this deadline is realistic. Consider the amount of total time the task or project will take and break down how much time each day should be dedicated to it.
  • Add buffer time.
    • Once you come up with a timeline, make sure to add extra time in case something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
  • Don’t commit to too many things at once.
    • When planning your time, consider all other items on your plate in that timeframe. It’s easy to fall into committing to too many things and then worry about being able to get it all done.
  • Once a deadline has been determined, set milestone dates.
    • Setting smaller deadlines to keep yourself and your team accountable and on task will ensure that you can meet the deadline on time and keep the project moving forward.

Being busy means being productive. However, being busy without deadlines can lead to project delays or incompletions. With a firm set of attainable deadlines, you can prevent personal stress, team headaches, and client dissatisfaction. I just want everyone to be happy.