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Working To Deadlines

May 21, 2024 - May 21, 2024   

Can you work to a deadline? Eric Gilston, Life & Business Coach asks: How good are you? 

For those of you who are football fans, you may have heard of the late great Bobby Robson?  Well, I heard a lovely story about him not too long ago on the radio. For those of you who are not football fans, please bear with me.

Apparently, training sessions started at 10 a.m. If a player turned up late or just on time, all he would say was “If we’d have been catching the 10 o’clock train to go to a match, you’d have missed the train and not played”. Those players never arrived late for training again.

The same principle applies to work.

My mentor in the States has a lovely phrase, viz. Completion versus Perfection. We all have our own idea about Perfection, but in most cases it is purely subjective. So when you are working on a project for your boss, another company, etc. I can understand that you want the work to be of the highest quality, but actually getting the work completed on time is most important.

I do a lot of work with students in schools and it doesn’t matter whether they are working on a challenge where they have one hour to complete it, or two hours, or even a whole week, they are always told what time they will be presenting their findings. Usually the students have been split into small groups tackling different aspects of the challenge, and at some point they get together to make sure that “the sum of the parts equals the whole”.

You can guarantee that one group will always ask if they can have a bit more time. This is never allowed, and that particular group still gets finished on time and to the deadline set. I never know what would have been done had I allowed them that extra time.

So, what do the students learn from this? It is great training for when they eventually get to work in a company, whether their own or someone else’s. To be able to work to a deadline is a great skill, and this coupled with the thought of “completion versus perfection” will make you a valuable commodity to any business.

Ask yourself whether you believe that you are good at working to deadlines. If the answer is yes, then what is it that you do to achieve this every time?

Let’s consider two situations. One where it is just you working to a deadline, and the other when you are part of a team working to a deadline.

Taking the first case, do you use what I call ‘block time’ and put aside fixed amounts of time on a daily basis, knowing that the total time allocated will mean that you hit your deadline?  Do you break the total project down into smaller manageable units and programme these into a time frame that will ensure you meet the deadline? By doing these two things, you are able to measure that you are keeping yourself on track and highly motivated.

All the above points can be used when you are part of a team, but you could also emerge as the team leader by proposing that everyone adopts the above procedure, and then the team will meet the deadline.

Next time you are working on a particular project, do what you have just read, and see how proud you are that you can now ‘work to a deadline’. It’s a valuable skill.

Eric Gilston, Life & Business Coach 

If you would like more tips like these or have any questions on life skills, then you are free to email me on eric@coachandcourses.com

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