Understanding deadlines not only in your work at home business but in your life, in general, is critical to the success of your business, your health, the quality of your life, and your happiness. We will initially discuss deadlines in general. Then we will examine how not dealing with deadlines effectively can hurt your business as well as your lifestyle, and finally provide tips on how to deal with deadlines effectively.
Deadlines are one of the great driving forces of our culture and especially our business culture. Many people work long hours and burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines. There are two major types of deadlines: (1) critical; (2) manipulative.
Critical deadlines are those that have to be met in order to avoid a serious consequence or meet a specific objective before a window of opportunity closes. Surgeons often have critical deadlines. Fireman, police, the military, and rescue teams have critical deadlines. These are self-explanatory. Businesses sometimes have critical deadlines. Examples include: (1) getting an order out to a customer by an agreed-upon time in order to keep an account; (2) getting a sales campaign ready for the Christmas season; (3) getting the required paperwork to the federal government in order not to get fined or shut down.
Manipulative deadlines, on the other hand, are different. If manipulative deadlines are not met there are not fatal or permanently damaging consequences. Corporate management often establishes manipulative deadlines to force staff to be more productive and make the corporate bottom line better. There is some justification for this. People have a tendency to slack off if they don�t have some pressure put on them. Of course, in a sense, these may become critical deadlines to employees because if they don�t meet them it could hurt their career or get them fired.
In dealing with deadlines, as well as in life, it�s important to pick your battles. Potentially the worst consequence of being deadline-driven is taking short-cuts in performing the business tasks we need to do in order to meet a deadline. The result is we meet our deadline but we don�t meet our business objectives because we hurried and developed a poor product. For example, we produced an ineffective sales copy or didn�t take enough time to optimize our website correctly. I was a software project manager for 20 years and we had the following saying: �We never have time to do it right, but we always have time to do it over.�
That being said, here are some tips on how to deal with deadlines. First, determine whether the deadline you are dealing with is a critical or manipulative deadline. If it’s a critical deadline, you better just do it. Because of its dire consequences, performing the task badly is better than not performing it at all. (This is one of the key attributes of a critical deadline versus a manipulative one.)
If it�s a manipulative deadline, remember it�s your own work at home business. You�re the boss, don�t manipulate yourself. Just because you want something accomplished in a month doesn�t mean that you are capable of getting it done in that timeframe. Ask yourself: What�s more important, meeting your deadline or meeting your business objective effectively? Meeting a deadline is meaningless if you don�t meet your business objective.
If you have generated a manipulative deadline, forget about it. Just focus on doing your work as well and quickly as you are capable of. You�d be surprised how often you will meet your discarded manipulative deadline by using this strategy. Chances are you are more likely to meet your deadline by using this strategy rather than being a slave to your manipulative deadline because when you are deadline-oriented you spend half your time working and the other half worrying about meeting your deadline. This takes your focus away from the task at hand and makes you less efficient and less productive. The payoffs to managing your deadlines effectively are you will be less stressed, more productive, and happier.