In certain situations, time heals, in others it cripples. For example, negative consequences occur when the deadline is violated. What is it and how to apply it correctly, this article will tell.
What it is?
Term «deadline» came to us from America. Its origin seems to be quite bleak. It literally means «dead line». And the concept originally meant just that in a literal sense.
In prisons, the deadline was a line drawn on the floor, crossing which the prisoner signed his own death warrant, as this was regarded as an attempt to disobey or escape.
Dead — dead, line — line or border. If you go beyond the deadline, you will be shot. It was during the Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. Then the passions in the New World subsided, but the word remained and became synonymous with our rush.
IT people were the first to introduce it into their slang. Deadline in the language of programmers is a strictly allotted time for the completion of work. In simple terms, this is the deadline for submitting a task to a client or superiors. Then the concept of «deadline» moved to other areas of activity, and not only in the United States.
Situations when the deadlines are «burning» occur in a person’s life at every step. From early childhood, we face deadlines. A poem about Santa Claus must be learned strictly for the New Year’s party, a song about mom — by March 8. As we grow older, the deadline becomes more strict.
Already at school, non-compliance with the deadline threatens with much more serious problems than suspension from performing at a matinee in kindergarten.
The lesson must be learned strictly by tomorrow. The plasticine craft must be completed by the next art lesson. Read «War and Peace» — for the summer holidays. Prepare for exams — no later than their deadline.
Then the deadline goes with us to a secondary or higher educational institution. The student is given a certain period of time to write a term paper or dissertation. Of course, some leave everything to the last. But non-compliance with the student deadline threatens with expulsion from the institute. And this is not even a deuce in a math lesson in grade 5.
After receiving a diploma, we go to work. And again we take with us the need to meet the deadline.
Even creative people have to work within deadlines. The performance in the theater must be delivered by a certain date. What can we say about big corporations. The accounting report cannot be delayed, otherwise — a fine, problems with the audit, unpleasant consequences. The delivery of a new building object also always has a certain date, the transfer of which threatens not only the loss of the company’s reputation, but also financial losses.
All the same IT people must develop a new program by a certain day, otherwise they will be overtaken by competitors, as a result — deprivation of bonuses, and even dismissal.
A television journalist is obliged to create his story strictly by the time the news program is released, then the work will lose its relevance, and the reporter will lose his job. The correspondent of the newspaper writes his article until the day the publication goes to press, in a week no one will need it, and the author will no longer be able to count on a fee.
An athlete who misses the deadline for doping tests will be at least disqualified for a long time, and maybe end his career altogether. An artist who undertakes a private order must complete it before the date specified in the contract, otherwise the painting will remain in his collection.
The confectioner creates his culinary masterpiece just in time for a birthday, wedding or other significant date. Being late will literally send his work to the trash.
Even modern writers can seldom afford protracted «throes of creativity.» Strict contracts with publishers do not give them the opportunity to relax. The film crew of the movie must be done right on time. Otherwise — additional costs for renting premises, fees for actors, salaries for technical staff. The doctor cannot delay the operation to remove the appendix, otherwise his patient is waiting for a deadline in the worst sense of the English term.
But even if you are a simple housewife, there will certainly be a deadline in your life too. Lunch must be cooked by a certain date, otherwise the children and the husband will remain hungry. The child needs to be picked up from kindergarten at a certain time, and even if your manicurist is late, this does not give the right to violate the term.
Pay utility bills, taxes, fines, pay off a loan — all this must be done on time. Otherwise, at least — penalties, as a maximum — a fine, and even litigation with an inventory of property.
The mother-in-law should be congratulated on her anniversary strictly on her birthday. Violation threatens scandal and resentment. We even make some purchases at exactly the allotted time. It is the deadline method that is used in advertising campaigns when we are offered to buy a product at a discount at a certain time. The slogan “the promotion is limited” is nothing more than the use of the deadline principle. Everywhere you look, there is a deadline.
In order for the deadline to be beneficial, and not a blow to the nervous system, you need to follow certain requirements. Postponing the task to the extreme point is wrong.
A soft mode like “I can do it tomorrow” turns into hard consequences. The last date creeps up imperceptibly, and now we are already doing everything in a hurry, at night, without sleep and rest.
And if in the case of students this is still acceptable, they have much more strength and energy than a working person, all the more burdened by a family, then with children or middle-aged people it is unacceptable. Therefore, when determining the finish line, use the following rules.
- It will be right on time. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Even if you understand that the work can be completed in two weeks, and not in a month, as required by the deadline, do not put it off.
Unplanned difficulties or cases can always appear. The child fell ill, the mother asked to be taken to the dacha, and all this usually happens “inopportunely”. Better sooner than later, so get started as soon as you’ve got it. So you have at least time left for domestic needs. As a maximum, you will be able to start a new project earlier than planned.
- Unique performer. Each of us has his own temperament, each has his own style of work. Therefore, one can cope with a specific task in a week, the other in three days. One manicurist does his job in 30 minutes, the other lets the client go only after an hour and a half.
And the point is not only in quality, but also in the methods that this or that specialist uses. Do not run ahead of the locomotive. Don’t raise the bar. If you understand that the time allotted to you is too short, either immediately refuse the order, or negotiate other terms.
- I see a target. Sometimes it is difficult for us to start implementing a large-scale project. We just don’t know where to start. Lay everything out. Determine the major and minor. Make a plan. And then it will be much easier to find the best way to achieve the goal than if you do the work “hurriedly”.
- And the hour has struck. Sometimes it seems that meeting the deadlines is not so important. If you didn’t sew a dress for the New Year, finish it by your birthday. If you didn’t clean this weekend, you’ll do it next. In the meantime, things are only getting bigger. They grow like a snowball. So don’t think too much about seconds. Do not bring things to a time trouble.
- Can’t bring yourself to get to work? Remember the customer. Not only do you risk ruining your relationship with him and tarnish your reputation, it will also be hard for him. For example, he expects to receive from you a portrait (bouquet, exclusive jewelry) for his wife for her name day. Breaking the deadline threatens with problems not only for you, but also for his personal life.
- No matter how much the rope twists, it will still end. Set specific deadlines for completing work. Even if the customer does not insist and says that he is ready to wait a whole year. Set your own end date. Voice it to the client and partners. Otherwise, there is a possibility that the “pleasure” will really last for a year.
- Divide and rule. Keep a written (printed) schedule handy at all times, especially if you’re working on multiple projects at the same time. Do not be afraid to delegate part of the work to colleagues (subordinates).
- Time. Time zones often stifle business. When receiving an order from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, do not forget to take into account the time difference or discuss which clock to focus on with the customer.
- Understand, but verify. Even if it seems that you have taken into account all the wishes of the customer, do not hesitate to clarify all the details. Otherwise, there may not be enough time for revision.
- The client is always right. In order not to have to make adjustments to the work a month after its delivery, set a deadline for your customer as well. Specify the deadline for accepting claims after the delivery of work. Otherwise, when, after a month, a friend “reaches out” that mother-of-pearl buttons should have been on the dressing gown, you will have to be distracted by rework from another project, the strict framework of which must also not be violated.
- From general to specific. If you have taken on a large-scale project, divide it into several parts and determine your own deadline for each. This will help you clearly understand what needs to be done on a particular day.
- Don’t be afraid to be petty. Write down every little detail of your project, and as you complete it, cross off the tasks that have already been completed. Firstly, this way you will always have a clear plan in front of you, and secondly, every day the goal will become more tangible.
- I’m doing time. Keep track of the calendar and clock. Sometimes time runs unnoticed, it is impossible to turn it back. At least until the time machine only works in movies and books.
- Happy hours. Determine the time that is most convenient for you to complete the work. If you’re working from home, it might be the gap between when the kids leave for school and when it’s time to start preparing dinner. Use the selected time clearly for its intended purpose — in our case, to complete work on a deadline.
- You can use a well-known time management technique — the tomato method. For a certain time, you will be concentrated on solving only one task. The essence of the method is simple. Take a kitchen timer, start it for 25 minutes, and until the end of time signal sounds, you are doing only some specific work. Learn English, for example. The main condition is that all this time nothing should be distracting. No phone calls, no kettle boiling, no washing machine finished.
- Do not embrace the immensity. Even if during the execution of the work you received a very advantageous offer, before agreeing to it, weigh the pros and cons. If you try to catch two birds with one stone, the chances of missing both are high. Therefore, if there is even the slightest risk of not coping with the first task, do not take on the second.
If you realize and follow these simple rules, you can not only achieve great success in the professional field, but also make life easier in principle.
What is it for?
It may seem that the deadline is the most relevant for businessmen. However, this is not the case. First of all, the deadline disciplines. Second, he helps build self-control. You will no longer endlessly look for reasons to postpone the task.
You will have more free time. What used to be spent on all sorts of nonsense will go into business. Instead of 5 cups of coffee a day, you will drink one. And this is good for health too.
The deadline helps to concentrate on the task at hand and not be scattered over trifles.
Instead of one well-executed project, you can turn in 2 or even 3 in the same time frame. And this is not only an increase in self-esteem, but also an increase in salary.
There are people who are pathologically late. They do not have time anywhere and never — to school, to work, to a plane or train, to birthdays and even the New Year, and at the same time they do not experience the slightest pangs of conscience. But this is more the exception than the rule. For the most part, violation of the deadline leads to problems of both an internal and social nature.
- The underachiever can never feel successful. He loses faith in his own strength, gets upset and eventually brings himself to chronic and lingering stress.
- Work not completed on time inevitably leads to an unpleasant conversation with the customer, business partner or manager. In the end — all the same stress.
- Time that was spent on work that was not handed in on time cannot be returned. As a result of missed deadlines, all the work is often in vain. You were bypassed by a competitor or an order made by you after the agreed deadlines is no longer relevant. Well, who needs your exclusively decorated Christmas tree on January 10th? You lost strength, and at best you got nothing, at worst — again, stress.
- In addition to wasting time and effort, disorganization leads to loss of profit. If your boss is a “darling”, he simply will not give you a bonus, and if not, which is most likely, he will reduce or completely deprive you of your salary.
- If the deadline is systematically violated, a person runs the risk of losing his job altogether. At first, they will no longer trust him at least how much significant projects, then they will begin to completely ignore him. Rumors of his incapacity would spread far beyond the company. And after the dismissal, which in this case is almost inevitable, unless the owner of the company is your loving grandfather, it will be difficult for you to find a new job. And as a result, what? That’s right — stress or even depression.
How to set critical deadlines and meet them?
Any person is capable of following the rules of the deadline. Any violation is a consequence of the wrong mode of work and rest. So that not a single day is wasted, you do not need to have supernatural abilities. You just need to put things in order in your head and in the workplace. So, let’s begin.
We make a plan for the day. It is advisable to do this the night before. If you are a «lark» and get up early in the morning full of strength and energy, assign all important and complex tasks for the first half of the day. After lunch, focus on less burdensome and attention-demanding tasks. If you are a night owl and your brain wakes up around noon, do the light part of the work in the morning, and take on the most mentally demanding tasks in the afternoon.
But in both cases, assign most of the load to the first half of the week, while you have a stronger concentration of attention and a higher level of performance. With proper planning, you can always give yourself a “short day” on Friday.
- Leave yourself time just in case. If you need to complete the work in a week, reduce your own deadline to 5-6 days. So you will have time to correct the shortcomings, improve the created project. If neither is required, you will have free time at your disposal.
- Promise to do the work on time not only to yourself and the customer (manager), but also to colleagues, and even household members. Saying the dates out loud gives you more incentive to work more dynamically.
- Set a reminder on your phone. The sound of notifications about the deadline for the completion of work will also stimulate its speedy completion.
- But first, put things in order on your desktop, remove everything unnecessary and distracting from work from it. Create a comfortable environment for yourself.
Learn to say no to the tenth sentence of the day for a cup of tea, football, or a party with friends. But at the same time, don’t overdo it.
Do not take on an unbearable burden. Take to work only what you are ready to perform without losing health. And, of course, do not deny yourself a rest. You can drive yourself very quickly, it will take much longer to recover. Be outdoors more often. Go in for sports. All this will give acceleration and stimulus to your brain activity. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Take small breaks during your work day as well.
As you can see, everything is not as complicated as everything ingenious. And remember — the word «deadline» had a sad connotation more than a century and a half ago. Now this is a lifeline for any modern person who wants to achieve success in this life both at work and at home.