Five tips for dealing with impossibly tight deadlines

covid-19 mental health accountants

Source: AAP/Dan Peled.

Deadlines can be stressful enough at the best of times, but when they’re tight and there is more than one, they can be incredibly overwhelming.

Whether it is a customer who needs a quick turn-around or multiple clients sign off on your quotes all at once limiting your time to work on each project, one thing is sure, you’re likely to feel your stress levels rise.

But with a little planning and juggling, the seemingly impossible can be made possible, so here are five tips to help you meet those intimidatingly tight deadlines and keep your stress levels in check.

1. Clear your work schedule

Start by clearing your schedule and to-do list of anything that isn’t a high priority. This may mean putting other important but less urgent projects and tasks on hold in order to meet the deadline.

Keep in mind that your experience, expertise and good intentions won’t help at all if you don’t have the time to commit to it.

2. Get help from the beginning

If work is hectic and you know you are going to struggle to meet your deadlines seek help from the beginning, don’t leave it until the last minute.

Brief your colleagues or outsourced team about your project and what you will (or may) need them to do so they are ready when you need them. This will save time and ensure work is commenced quickly and done productively. Be sure to build in a buffer deadline for your team so you have extra time to revise and make changes if needed.

Also make sure you get more help on the home front, sharing or outsourcing more of your household tasks to free up more time for work in order to meet the deadline.

3. Break the project down

Don’t try to tackle the entire project all at once, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks and have deadlines for each of them to keep you on schedule. This will help to keep your stress levels in check.

4. Work on it one step at a time

Once you have broken the project down into smaller tasks, focus on the first one. Then only once it is complete move onto the next task. Checking each task off as it’s done will give you the motivation to keep going and help you to easily track your progress.

5. Have a disclaimer in proposals and quotes

If you find you’re sending out a number of proposals or quotes at once, put a date on how long they are valid for and include a disclaimer that commencement date may be impacted due to your work schedule at the time it is accepted.

This gives you a little extra breathing space, because while you may have time in your schedule when you send out the quote, if they accept it three weeks later, you might be run off your feet.

How do you handle tight deadlines? Let us know in the comments.


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