How to Manage Time & Improve Deadline Management Skills

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Modern enterprises need to carry out their business operations in a streamlined manner. They need employees who can micromanage and multi-task at the same time, with qualified output within the deadline, every time. The senior executives place a lot of emphasis on project management. They also encourage the employees to manage their time more productively. The staff is even goaded on to improve their deadline management skills. Time management skill is one of the top criteria for leadership and promotions.

How does the deadline affect project management?

When management takes up a project, they assign tasks and roles to each individual or team. They also give deadlines (micro-deadline and overall deadline). The micro deadline helps to keep the flow of tasks at the required rate, and the overall deadline is the time to complete the whole task.

Meeting the micro deadlines will help the team complete the task within the overall deadline. Although deadlines create pressure, failing to meet them leads to work lag. Also, the smooth workflow of a shared task gets completely disrupted.

In today’s work methodology, the input of one team is the output of one or many teams. Thus, the two teams should meet their micro deadlines for the next team to take up their input and start working towards the goal.

Even if the output of one team misses the deadline, the overall synchronized workflow becomes disrupted. As a result, the common goal with complex and multi-stage tasks gets out of the gear. 

Importance of time management and deadlines

Time management is an essential skill for modern business executives. It will help them overcome stress and deadline related pressure. With time management, your employees will be able to produce more without any errors and anxiety. They will also stop procrastinating.

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When you do not deliver the expected on time, it affects team morale. Moreover, it affects your self-confidence and belief in getting things done at the office. Business requirements and work structures are crucial for project success.  

Problems are inevitable while handling large projects. That is why the management carefully allots resources. They choose the right person to do the right task with the right resource and authority within the right time. Time management closely comes hand-in-hand with resource management.

If the manager delegates a task to a team with no training or required authority, the team is sure to miss the deadline or provide low quality output. Thus, time management is not just about creating a timeline. 

It is a holistic task covering resource allocation, buffer time for error management, quality check, proper delegation, and so on.

What happens when a project misses its deadline? It leads to customer dissatisfaction. The market has numerous players with a similar service profile. If you cannot satisfy your customer, he will replace you. It is a buyer market with low brand switching costs and effort.

Tips to improve deadline management and eliminate the delay process

Time management is a unique and distinctive skill to possess. There is no one size fits all solution for it. You have to try different methods before finding your method. Find out what works best for you and stick to it without deviations. 

To-Do-Lists

Making a list of things is quite useful if you have a hectic schedule. Set phone reminders and take computer notes.

Do not prepare long lists of 25 to 30 items that are impossible. Instead, start prioritizing your work and settle for a shorter list of things-to-do.

You can fix a time frame and break them down into weekly and monthly work units. This way, you will get enough rest between essential tasks. Breaking down a larger task list is the first skill to learn. Each piece of task broken down should have a micro deadline too.

Fix realistic deadlines

Be realistic and set achievable targets and deadlines. Do not get deviated from the course. Multi-tasking does not mean performing the tasks all at the same time. Know the priority of the task, the steps required for the task, and the resource required.

Based on these, allocate a deadline. Some prefer assigning a stricter deadline for micro-task to ensure they have enough buffer time for error management.

Delegate Duties

Delegation is a very critical job for managers. Working on a job and making someone else work on a job are two different concepts. When you delegate work, you need to assign authority and resources too.

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You cannot expect your subordinates to collect data from interns if you do not provide authority to the subordinate over the interns. One must delegate work and authority to the right person at the right time and have control over their actions.

Use Downtime Better

Using downtime better is synonymous with not wasting time. When you are sitting in the traffic, plan, and prepare your day’s events. When you are waiting in a line, write down a small list of things to do. 

Make use of these opportunities to be more productive and to avoid stress and burnout. You can find many voice-activated calendars or mobile apps to plan your day during your downtime.

Reinforcing Success

When you complete a task, reward yourself. Such positive reinforcements keep you motivated and healthy. When your team completes a task within the deadline, reward them. The reward need not be monetary and expensive. Just a pat on the back or a public appreciation would do the trick. 

Usage of software

In this digital age, you can use software efficiently to manage deadlines. A good quality project management software can help with planning and production. You can also schedule better and delegate duties in a more streamlined fashion. 

Work Prioritization

Prioritize the work into high and low, first, and last. Identify immediate tasks, essential actions, and impactful efforts using Hygger prioritization frameworks.

Short time priorities range between a few minutes to a couple of days, usually done by a single person. But, long term priorities require meetings, conferences, and co-operation of team members.

Both the managers and executives can use software to manage deadlines. They find AI Automated Project Management Software instrumental in time management and resource allocation. This data and the information-based approach is fault-free and futuristic.

For example, they can log their project status and share them with others. They can perform data-intensive tasks simultaneously without redundancy to arrive at the original business deadline.

This knowledge-driven management is an intelligent way to beat deadlines and manage time efficiently.

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Sharad Bhardwaj is a content analyst at SoftwareSuggest. He has experience in content marketing and has expertise in Project and Document management systems & services. In leisure time he likes to rejuvenate through playing cricket and listening to music.