How to Meet Your Deadlines: 5 Tips to Help You Effectively Manage Your Time

A college student meets her deadlines by putting her assignments on her calendar.

Whether it’s a few days, weeks, or months away, looming deadlines can feel suffocating. You may be overwhelmed or anxious, feeling pressured by the time constraints or worried you won’t be able to get everything done in time. 

No matter what your timeline, there are things you can do to make your deadlines seem less daunting. Practical steps like making a plan and prioritizing your tasks can help you move forward and feel more confident as you move toward your final goal.

Here are five things you can do to effectively manage your time and meet your deadlines.

1. Break down tasks. 

Looking at the full scope of your project can be overwhelming. You may wonder where to begin or feel like you’ll never get everything finished by the deadline. Instead of looking at the final product as one massive project, consider breaking it into smaller, individual tasks. From there, you can have a more realistic view of what needs to be done, making the project seem more manageable.

2. Prioritize. 

Once you know what tasks need to be completed, you can work on finding a place to begin. Start by evaluating the individual items and considering how much time each task takes to complete. Then, make a list of what needs to be done from most important to least important. Prioritize the things that need to be done first and the larger tasks that need to be started sooner. By objectively considering what matters most, you’ll be able to more effectively manage your time and make a plan to succeed. 

3. Create smaller deadlines. 

Knowing the order of your priorities will allow you to make a practical plan to start working from. Look at your list of ordered tasks. Then, work your way backwards from your final deadline. Consider how much time the final task will take to complete and create a smaller, mini deadline. Repeat that for each remaining task, allowing additional room for delays or unforeseen events. By setting and accomplishing milestones along the way, you’ll set yourself up for long-term success and help your final goal feel more attainable.

4. Be flexible

Despite your planning, unexpected alterations may still be needed. Deadlines may need to be extended, new projects may be added or unforeseen problems may occur. Be open to adjusting your timeline as needed. Remember to stay calm and trust that you will get everything done on time. By staying responsive and adaptable, you will be able to handle problems as they come and stay on track to meet your goals.

5. Stay in the moment. 

It can be easy to be concerned about the upcoming deadlines or be overwhelmed by all that still needs to be done. Instead of worrying about the future, practice taking your responsibilities one day at a time. Practice focusing on what needs to be done each day and then give your full attention to what you’re working on. By staying in the moment, you can be less concerned with the future and more empowered to reach your final goal.

As you work toward your final deadline, it’s important to celebrate your successes along the way. Stop and consider all that you have accomplished thus far and see how far you have come. By remembering your accomplishments, you’ll be able to feel more encouraged and optimistic as you get closer to reaching your goals.