The thought of missing a deadline used to make me break out into hives, until I realized that in life, shit happens. With more work to be done and more distractions to go with it, some things will inevitably slip through the cracks. Taking on additional assignments at work may be admirable, but one missed deadline can make you go from office hero to office villain in 0 to 60 seconds flat.
Naturally (or unnaturally) when we know or feel that we’re about to miss a deadline, we clam up. We’ll get real quiet and close everyone out and convince ourselves that we’ll be able to transform into some imaginary productivity drone and get everything done with minutes to spare. This almost never happens.
The right thing to do is breathe and relax. Ask yourself, “Am I really about to miss this deadline?” If the answer is still yes, then the first thing you’ll need to do is inform your team. Explain the situation to them and ask for additional time to complete the project.
This may also be a good time to ask for assistance. If you need more resources or “hands on deck” to finish a project, just ask.
To avoid falling into a pattern of missed deadlines, be sure to set clear expectations up front. Consider your work style and set realistic deadlines. If you already have a lot on your plate, explain that to your team and let them know what you’ll need in order to finish an assignment on time.
Most importantly, learn how to say “no” to things up front to avoid overcommitting yourself.
How do you cope with missed deadlines? Share your tips.