Why That Extended Deadline Is Not Your Friend

How do you deal with deadlines?

Do you finish tasks on time? In the allotted time frame?

Or are you usually late? And hoping for an extension?

Deadline extensions seem to be the norm in most businesses.

However, what many people do not realize is that extensions are not their friend.

In fact, extending deadlines usually ends up resulting in more work.

More Time or More Work?

Does this sound familiar?

You are working hard to finish an item by a specific deadline.

You are close to completion, when it is announced that the project’s deadline has been extended.

What do you do?

Well, if you are like most, you put it off until the new deadline.

Unfortunately, by doing this you are actually creating more work for yourself. You will have to spend extra time picking back up where you left off. And you don’t know what else will be occurring during the next crunch period.

When deadlines are extended, it not only delays the inevitable work but expands it at the same time.

“Tasks and projects will always expand to fill the allowed deadline.”

Deadline extensions are normal at most companies. Some actually operate off the expectation that first deadline will never be final deadline.

Is this your workplace?

Don’t Delay the Doing

Without deadlines, things tend not to get done.  However, extending deadlines not only creates more work, but also covers up other organizational and performance problems.

Don’t let this happen to you. If you are a manager, don’t inflict it upon your team. You will actually create extra work for them.

Here are some key methods to avoid deadline extensions:

  • Set Personal Deadlines – The best way to win with deadlines, is to set your own personal deadlines ahead of the actual deadline. You will not only finish ahead of schedule, but have slack time in case you need it. This is a simple answer, but not many actually practice it.
  • Stick to Deadlines – Too many people and organizations are careless with deadlines. Don’t let yourself fall into this apathy.  If you take your deadlines serious, they will not seem like an option when things get tight.
  • Finish Early – Want to experience a really positive, good feeling? The next time you have an important deadline, make it a point to finish early. I mean way early. Not only will you feel great, but you will have time to review your work. And you will get a unique perspective on those who are scrambling to finish.
  • Ignore Extensions – Don’t fall for the deadline extension trick.  Instead, when you are close to finishing a task and the deadline is extended, go ahead and finish on time anyway. Stick with the original deadline. You will be thankful you did and so will your todo list.

Stick to Those Deadlines

Deadlines are the goal lines for getting tasks and projects done.

Don’t let yourself or your company take them for granted.

When you let deadlines slip, you often create more work.

Instead, stick to those deadlines.

In hindsight, you will be glad you did.

And nothing feels better than finishing early, way ahead of a deadline.

What about you? Do you finish in the allowed time or do you hope for an extension?