Most of our jobs include projects with deadlines. Whether you are the one assigning the project, leading the team, or working to complete everything on time, these four simple tips can help you and your coworkers stay on track.
- Be Specific. Name the specific date and time for the deadline. Clearly outline what the project is and any special instructions for completing it. If you are the one doing the project and you do not know what you should be doing, do not be afraid to clarify things with your supervisor. It saves everyone time in the long run. Another good idea for larger, long-term projects is to follow up verbal assignments with an email putting everything in writing. Sometimes, people think they’ve been clear about what they want, but the person they were talking to didn’t get the intended message.
- Clarify Priorities. If several projects need to get done simultaneously, prioritize the tasks in order of most important/time sensitive. Telling someone to get things done “ASAP” is not very useful because it creates confusion about what is most important. Think about it: If everything is top priority, then nothing is top priority. If you don’t know what the top priority should be, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor what he/she wants you to focus more of your efforts on.
- Don’t Set False Deadlines. Setting an earlier deadline because you don’t trust people to get projects done on time creates unnecessary tension in your workplace. If your employees realize you’re doing this, they will not be motivated to meet your fake early deadline. They will also probably resent the lack of faith in their abilities. On the other hand, telling someone you need something by next week but then returning the next day to ask for the finished product is not effective either. It goes back to being specific about what you need. If your supervisor does things like this to you constantly, try talking to him/her about it. If that doesn’t work, you can try to go through HR, but you may have to find another job if your boss is just too unreasonable.
- Establish (and Update) a Schedule. Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans. For longer projects, it’s a good idea to schedule deadlines for each piece of the project so people don’t get behind or get overwhelmed. You can do this for yourself (with your supervisor’s approval) if they don’t do it for you. Weekly (or monthly, as appropriate) feedback meetings are a good way to make sure everyone is on track and discuss possible problems. If your supervisor or team leader doesn’t schedule these, feel free to shoot them an email detailing your progress and confirming that you are doing the right things.
By Lauren Raines for Uplifting Woman
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net