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Set Deadlines to Increase Your Productivity

If you ever find yourself wishing you had more time or thinking you have too much to do then maybe now is the time to try a different approach - set your own deadlines, plan how to meet them and then get the tasks done.
When you have no externally set deadlines, perhaps because you run your own business or you have home-based projects, or the deadlines are some distance into the future it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get started and make progress. Sometimes this is due to procrastination however making slow progress towards task completion can also be due to a perfectionist streak, after all just a little more time spent on a project is bound to improve it. This might be the case but you need to ask yourself if improvements will add value - particularly to your income.
To set and meet deadlines take the following approach; each week:
  • List the projects and tasks you are working on or want to begin; these might include reports to write, customers to contact, generating ideas for new products, organising promotions, landscaping the garden, decorating a room and perhaps some routine tasks such as paying the bills
  • Prioritise your projects and tasks in order of importance and urgency
  • Note a completion deadline against each one - write it down as this will increase your commitment
  • List the tasks involved to reach completion (e.g. divide a report into stages)
  • Write a realistic estimate of the time needed for each task
  • Schedule tasks into your week - it is important to plan the week ahead so that you can see where you might need to make adjustments. Ensure that you allocate time to your top 3 priorities
  • Follow your schedule and complete the tasks - remember you are aiming for good work not perfection. As you are working think of your deadlines as just that - deadlines, you must complete the rough draft of that report by the set date
  • At the end of the week review how well you have done and then set your schedule for the following week.
Keep this up for the next few weeks, reviewing and adjusting where necessary, and you will find that as you start to complete projects your motivation to further improve your productivity will increase. You will become focussed on getting the job done which will lead to you getting the job done.
Caroline writes regularly on the Life Unleashed blog - http://www.lifeunleashed.co.uk/. She has also written the book "Life Unleashed - Living life on your terms" which is available from Amazon as both a paperback and for Kindle.

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