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5 Tips For Setting Deadlines That Work

Posted April 14, 2013 by Melissa Foster in On the Ladder


Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Scharf

Creating a deadline is like drawing a line in the sand. It’s a finish line for what you want to accomplish. Here are some tips to set effective deadlines:

1) Use Parkinson’s Law

UseĀ Parkinson’s Law, which states that tasks expand to fill the time given for them. If you give yourself two hours to write a proposal, you’ll fill the two hours. If you give yourself one hour, chances are you’ll complete it in that hour. So set deadlines for yourself that will push you to a healthy limit.

2) Create Mini-Deadlines

Setting a deadline for a big project is great, but it’s important to create mini-deadlines for tasks necessary to complete the ultimate project. You should have 1-3 mini-deadlines every week that will inch you closer to the bigger goal.

3) Schedule Time On Your Calendar

Show up for your goal by scheduling events/appointments on your calendar designated for focused effort towards your deadline. Showing up is the most crucial piece of the success pie.

4) Set Timers

Timers are a huge help in keeping you focused and on track during a work session. You can just set it and forget it. You’ll be pulled out of your flow when it’s time; you don’t have to keep an eye on the clock.

Also, it sort of creates this “race against the clock” thing inside that keeps you moving forward with solid momentum!

5) Cheap/Fast/Good

Ben Casnocha, author of My Startup Life, says there are three dimensions of which you can only get get two: Cheap/Fast/Good. Choosing two dimensions will help you narrow down and prioritize the most important elements of your project.


About the Author

Melissa Foster

A productivity consultant for startups founders and entrepreneurs, Melissa Foster is on a mission to help her clients and readers create flow in their lives... and get big things done. A certified life coach, Melissa's hyper-focused, energetic approach is coupled with wisdom, warmth, and wit. You can get more from Melissa by visiting her website.