The Art of Timeliness: 5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Meet Deadlines
Finding the time you need just got easier.
Have you ever wished you had more time to get a job done? Have you ever asked for a time extension so you could deliver a job? Unfortunately, you do not have the luxury of unlimited time. For every task you undertake, there is a stipulated time for it to be delivered. Frankly speaking, without setting and meeting deadlines, it’s difficult to get anything done quickly.
People who bask in the euphoria that there is always time, never get things done or never get things done efficiently. And while most of us relate to the struggle of finding the time to do so, for entrepreneurs, it can seem virtually impossible.
Someone once said that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. This is due to the belief that busy people have mapped out strategies for prioritizing and managing all the things they need to do. This helps them to meet deadlines.
Deadlines give you structure and shape. They create an atmosphere of accountability and help prevent negative consequences. Some people love them, some people hate them, but if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must learn to meet deadlines.
I will be sharing some salient keys -- five of them -- that will help you meet your deadlines.
1. Develop a deadline consciousness.
Habits are developed by consciously doing things in a particular way. When they are consciously cultivated, they can be unconsciously acted out. Developing a deadline consciousness helps cultivate a habit of meeting deadlines. This ensures that you consistently meet deadlines at all times.
I know this is easier said than done, however, it is possible. Consistently meeting deadlines increases your effectiveness and productivity as an entrepreneur. Meeting deadlines is not just about getting work done solely for yourself. It is almost always about completing one link in a chain, and where there is a chain, there are other people who cannot meet their own deadlines until you have met yours.
If you are not on time, they cannot be on time either. Deadline consciousness makes you reliable and puts you in a position where you will always deliver on time.
2. Be reasonable and realistic.
One question you should always ask yourself before accepting a deadline is this: “Is this deadline realistic?” You need to look at your schedule and calendar before accepting deadlines. Don't always look at the profit and not consider what it will take to deliver the job.
If you so badly want to take that task, a reasonable thing to do is to try to negotiate deadlines. Don't make habit out of doing this, but if the need arises, suggest alternative deadlines that will be in harmony with the stockpile of jobs you need to deliver.
3. Organize yourself and employees more effectively.
Some people can really work effectively, so to say, in a chaotic and haphazardly organized environment. If that works for you, then fine. But more often than not, entrepreneurs who regularly meet deadlines work in an organized environment.
Personally, I hate disorganization. If I plan to organize myself, then I would first need to organize my employees. I do this beforehand using time and attendance software. This helps me handle payrolls, sick absences and other issues that may arise. Automating those areas gives us ample time to focus on deadlines without talking about employee leave and salaries.
Keeping a simple, week-view diary can also help you keep track of the things that need to be done and when they ought to be done. Every day, write what needs to be achieved and when, and cross them out as you accomplish them.
4. Use extended reminders.
Even the smartest of people forget sometimes. Reminders can be very useful for any entrepreneur. I cannot tell you how many times I have failed to deliver for certain clients simply because I did not put in place a system to remind me. I have since learned the power of reminders.
I developed a system I call extended reminder. That is, to deliberately arrange everything I need for an event at least a month before that date. When that is done, even if I end up remembering about the event in the last minutes, I can still catch up since I have already arranged everything.
To buttress that point, about a month ago, I almost forgot that I needed to deliver a presentation. Thankfully, I went through my extended reminder list and found out I had already booked a cheap flight two months ago through RewardExpert. That was how I caught up with my presentation.
When a deadline is far away but very important, do not just use a reminder, use extended reminder. Plan it and relax. It will help you meet the deadlines without feeling overwhelmed that the task is too near and too hectic.
5. Ask for help.
Two good heads are better than one. More than two good heads is even better. I am sure you get the progression.
You can share with your friends, family and your entrepreneur friends what you want to achieve and ask for their help. It must not be to help execute the project -- even though it could involve that -- but they can lend support in terms of advice as they share lessons learned from their own experiences that could help you move forward with your project.
Kc Agu is a startup consultant, a success coach, public speaker, an investor and a freelance writer.