Has anyone ever told you that they will have something to you by a certain day? That day comes and goes and you don’t hear from them. It’s frustrating – right?

I’m amazed at how many times people miss deadlines.  Maybe it’s because deadlines are engrained in my head. As a former journalist, you NEVER miss deadlines. Your whole day is based on getting the story done by a certain time. You continue to work until it’s done. Missing a deadline is not an option. If you do, you can get fired.

In the business world, missing deadlines lessens your credibility and can ruin your reputation. Let’s prevent that from happening. Here are some tips to help you make your deadlines.

Clarify
When you are working with a client or your boss, make sure you have a clear on their expectations. What exactly do they need? Ask directed questions to find out everything you can about the project. This will allow you to figure out a realistic timeframe.

Set a Date
Your boss may give you a specific due date.  But, if you are working with a client, make sure you give yourself a little extra time. Don’t overpromise and under deliver. Manage their expectations, but in a timely manner.  Come to a mutual agreement on an appropriate timeframe.

Get Organized
Do this right after your meeting. Everything is fresh in your mind and you are mentally ready to dive in. First, set up a timeline for the project (this is the big picture). Then, put that away. Looking at a list of 20 tasks is going to overwhelm you. Keep a shorter list of items that you are working on and add on from there. Use technology to keep you on task. Put EVERYTHING in your calendar.

If other team members are involved in the project, set up a planning meeting and delegate responsibilities. A person who is well organized knows where everything is mentally and physically.

Avoid Distractions
Don’t go on social media, turn off the TV and put your phone down. You need to be focused. These will all distract you!

Check-In
Creating constant communication with your boss or client will allow everyone to be on the same page. Keep them in the loop of how the project is going and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Chances are, as you get going, questions will arise.

Be Disciplined
At the end of the day, meeting a deadline is all up to you. It’s your name and reputation on the line. Sometimes it means not going out for drinks after work or waking up at 5am to get the project done. It’s your choice.

Life does get in the way, but when you are able to gain control, stay organized and be focused  – meeting deadlines is achievable and a lot less stressful.