Unfaithfulness in the keeping of an appointment is an act of clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person’s money as his time. ~ Horace Mann
Whether you’re a student seeking employment after college or an employee working for a corporation, meeting your deadlines and showing up on-time for meetings will affect your reputation and your ability to earn respect in the workplace. Puncutuality and meeting deadlines is critical if you want to be perceived as a reliable team member. Procrastination and perpetually arriving late on the other hand can ruin your chances for achieving your goals.
Here are some strategies I recommend for breaking the cycle of missing deadlines and failing to be punctual:
1. Acknowledge that procrastination is dangerous when it comes to managing your reputation and it can become a hindrance to your acceptance to college, jobs and for your career advancement.
2. Breakdown assignments into smaller tasks and create a checklist to complete each of the tasks with a self-assigned due date.
-Dividing a big job into smaller tasks can make it seem less overwhelming. It can also insure that you pay closer attention to the details within your larger assignment.
3. Prioritize Your Tasks with a schedule.
Take 20 minutes every Monday morning to list your career goals for the week. Include everything from organizing your desk, scheduling meetings and presentations to calls you need to make. Make a separate list for your personal goals including housekeeping, paying bills, charity work and miscellaneous errands. Use this list to create a schedule that incorporates all of your activities and projects and allot the amount of time you’ll need to finish each task. Prioritize your activities and create a daily list for what needs to be completed each day.
4. If necessary, break up your morning tasks from your afternoon tasks and allow some time for activities.
-Writing your goals down will enable you to know exactly what you need to accomplish and crossing things off your list will be rewarding and for some an even cathartic exercise.
5. Look for patterns when you have procrastinated and try to break those patterns.
For instance, do you often miss your deadlines due to a lack of sleep or because you get caught up in conversations and other work that consumes your time? If you are able to identify your “blocks” then you can develop a strategy to prevent them from sabotaging your efforts to be on time.
-Set an alarm on your phone to go off so you are reminded of meetings and of your deadlines
6. Assign yourself a due date that precedes the actual deadline.
The benefit of this strategy is clear: For one, it will insure that your assignment will be completed ahead of time so you meet your official deadline. The other advantage is that you allow time for reviewing your work and for reflecting on aspects you may want to change or modify. It will also help you avoid inadvertently missing important meetings.
Here are the benefits for avoiding procrastination, being punctual and for getting known for meeting deadlines:
- Increase your prestige and credibility
- Improve your overall integrity
- Improve accolades from superiors
- Elicit support from all colleagues
- Improve your reputation as a professional
In every industry or business, meeting deadlines and timeliness plays a significant role. Managing your time, respecting anothers’ time, avoiding procrastination and meeting deadlines will shed a favorable light on your capabilities.
Avoiding or ignoring deadlines and/or missing scheduled meetings suggests a plethora of negative character traits; the main ones being a lack of motivation to excel, a lack of interest in the project and an unwillingness to prioritize the client’s needs. On the flip side, by your prioritizing due dates and deadlines you demonstrate sincere interest, respect, desire to please, overall integrity and a willingness to comply with guidelines imposed by another party. Being known for meeting deadlines and for producing high quality work is highly valued in the workplace particularly in today’s challenging economy where the competition is stiff. It’s worth the effort to develop this character trait as it will shed a positive light on everything you do.