How to meet deadlines in five simple steps

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In the world of school marketing, it is not uncommon to be inundated with multiple deadlines at once. Something always seems to ‘pop up’ unexpectedly that demands urgent attention.

Here is how to meet deadlines in five simple steps:

1. Preparation
When working towards a deadline, map out all the steps involved in each task or project. Work out how long you will need to complete each step, and always allow a buffer for unexpected interruptions or issues. Make sure you know what is required in the task and have all of the information and content you need. Start on the project early if possible, and have a commence and complete date for each step to keep you on track.

2. Use lists
Keep a list of projects and deadlines so that you are aware of what is due and when. There are many tools available to help you keep on top of your to-do list, so choose the resource that works best for you. Some people prefer to keep a to-do list on paper, however there are many free applications available online and on your smartphone. Applications that I recommend for staying on task and organised are Trello, Asana and Wunderlist. These applications will also help you to categorise your tasks into groups – helpful for breaking up tasks into departments, clients, deadlines, events, terms or other categories. Your phone or computer calendar might also help as a reminder for due dates. Find what works best for you and use this consistently across your work.

3. Don’t over commit
If a staff member or manager has asked you to complete a task, ensure that you establish a reasonable deadline when accepting it. If you believe it is an unreasonable amount of work for the time allowed, explain that you will do your best but that it is unlikely you will be able to complete it within that timeframe. Where necessary, you might need to speak with your manager about workload, what your priorities should be and if there are any other resources or personnel available to help complete the task.

4. Take responsibility
If you have made a commitment to complete a project by a certain time, do whatever is possible to meet this commitment. This might require dedicating extra hours to the task or asking a team member for support. If a delay is unavoidable, communicate this as soon as possible to avoid disappointing your colleague or supplier.

5. Learn from mistakes
If something has taken longer than expected or you experienced an interruption, look at it as a learning experience and take note for next time. Determine how you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future and put preventative measures in place.

Everyone experiences things that pop up occasionally. But planning ahead and following these steps should help you to meet deadlines more consistently.

There are marketing automation tools available to help streamline and schedule content so that your repetitive marketing activities are taken care of while you focus on other tasks.

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