• James Walton

How to Stop Missing Deadlines

Most professionals don't have a problem missing meetings. We don't miss meetings because it's made it onto our calendars so nothing else occupies that spot; and once in the meeting, few people dare to interrupt it. At the same time, many professional struggle to meet deadlines (myself included) for the inverse reason: the time to do the work never made it onto our calendar (so nothing else could), and once we start the work, the time isn't guarded against outside distraction.  The answer is to treat your own internal work with the same seriousness you would treat an external meeting. That is, identify the task and the time required, and schedule time to accomplish it. Once the time arrives, do the work. Your world may be an endless series of unrelated 5 minute tasks, at which point it’s probably best to set aside 90 minutes to process through as many of them as possible. Some other tasks will be segments of a larger project and need to be addressed in a prioritized way so you can report back to your team. Still others will be items that aren’t urgent, but are important and should definitely be scheduled (i.e. attending professional development workshops, reading industry-specific journals and articles). Never be shy about scheduling and safeguarding the time you’ve carved into your workweek to actually accomplish your tasks.

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