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How can I manage my deadlines?

 

Hey Jo,


I’m drowning in deadlines at work. The pace has been particularly fast for a while now, with multiple campaigns and events happening at the same time. I’ve got lots of different tasks on my plate, and it seems like I’m always playing catch up to complete them all.


I need to manage my workload more effectively, but I’m not sure where to start. What can I do to keep on top of my deadlines?


Thanks,


Deadline Dana.

 

 

 

Dana, it’s good that you’re asking these questions. After several years as the only MOPs person in my company, I understand how tricky it can be to catch your breath. When your day-to-day involves a constant scramble to meet deadlines, you’re left with little time or energy to reflect on why that’s the case.


When the heat is on from mounting deadlines and expectations, I’ve found there’s usually a number of dynamics at play. From my experience, you want to think about how to structure your work, how you communicate with your team, and the systems you use to stay on the same page. Here’s some advice to help you keep afloat with deadlines:

 

- Plan in advance: Rushed turnarounds tend to arise from poor planning, so as eager as your team might be to get the ball rolling with campaigns, don’t implement without a solid plan in place. Start with a target launch date, then budget how much time you’ll need to sort out all the steps, dependencies, and approvals to make that viable (be generous).

Share that plan a good distance ahead of your deadline, and you’ll be in good shape to deal with any setbacks.

 

- Prioritize your tasks: List all the responsibilities on your radar ahead of each day, and focus on those most urgent and important for keeping your projects on track. If there are any low-effort tasks within that group, try and get those done before you switch gears to take on more demanding work. The less pressing items on your list are good candidates to put on the back bench or delegate.

 

- Have ongoing check-ins: Proactively reach out to your colleagues to figure out ways of dealing with heavy deadlines. Regular talks with your manager about bandwidth—where your time’s spent and what your capacity is—and progress updates with your stakeholders—what’s on track and what’s at risk—give you an opportunity to surface any workload issues and collaborate in good time on a solution.

Get outside help: You only have so many hours in the day—if there are particular tasks that you don’t have the resources to handle effectively, outsourcing them to an external vendor and getting time back for more important tasks is money well-spent.


Implement transparent systems: To prevent excess deadlines coming all at once, your tech should make it easy to understand where your teams’ activities and requests fit together. A central project management tool, campaign calendar, and dedicated channel to submit requests can all accomplish this. 

 

You’re in a stressful position right now, but you can easily turn it around. The more proactive you are with planning and communication, the better you’ll get at keeping deadlines under control.


You’ve got this,


Jo Pulse.

 

 

 

 

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