Have a look around social media and you are unlikely to see anything positive about impending deadlines. There are some very cleverly produced memes around – screaming and crying your way through the last few days of a project, desperate to meet a fast-approaching deadline. While these make great Instagram fodder, they don’t really paint an accurate picture of the benefits of having an end date. No, really! Deadlines are brilliant!
Once upon a time, I would be suspicious of anyone who claimed to like deadlines in the same way that I would be wary of someone who claimed to be a fan of Monday mornings. In recent years I’ve had a change of heart.
Why are deadlines great for business
There are many reasons why setting time limits on your work and having a definite date for projects and tasks to be finished can be great for your business. Here are just a few of these.
Deadlines encourage you to be realistic
How many items do you have on your to-do list right now? I bet you could easily add more. The to-do list is the gift that keeps on giving. The problem with task lists is that there is no time management aspect to them. What this means is that you can keep on adding items, as many as you like. You won’t get to tick them all off though, sorry!
By setting a deadline for the tasks that you have to complete, you force yourself to be realistic about the time available and how much you can get done. 101 items on the list but no time to complete them? Choose the work that only you can do and then delegate or outsource the rest.
If you have twenty tasks to do, where do you start? Do you “Eat The Frog” and tackle the most difficult task or do you focus on shorter tasks so that you can tick more items off your list? As a Virtual Assistant, I have had clients come to me with stacks of sticky notes, task lists and more, all overwhelmed and feeling unproductive. My first piece of advice is to take a breath. My second is to set deadlines so that you can prioritise work by urgency. This helps enormously with getting things done.
Ensure outsourcing is a success by allocating deadlines
One of the main reasons that clients outsource is to save themselves time so that they can focus on the core tasks that only they can do. By setting deadlines you not only facilitate a successful working relationship with your Virtual Assistant, but you are also streamlining the process, saving you money and making your business run more efficiently.
Use deadlines to manage staff expectations
When working with staff and delegating specific tasks to various departments you need to have deadlines in place, otherwise you invite chaos into the workplace. Time management within a business depends on clearly structured and realistic deadlines. In addition to ensuring that your workforce is using their time well, having deadlines gives a better overview of the amount of working needing to be done. This in turn could indicate the need to take on more staff and/or outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
Take time off
One of the very best things about setting deadlines is that it enables you to identify the best time to take time off. From a work-life balance point of view taking time off from your business is essential. I really can’t stress this enough. Prioritise your work and set deadlines so that you may effectively outsource tasks and enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation.
Are you now convinced? Do you think that you could learn to love deadlines? If you are struggling under the weight of numerous responsibilities and need help to make sense of it all, get in touch. Working with a Virtual Assistant like me and having firm deadlines in mind for your work is a great way to reduce stress. This will also increase productivity, encourage business growth and altogether foster a more positive working environment. Get your workload under control by loving your deadlines and you might just start to love Monday mornings too! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07970 955535.