Deadlines are absolutely necessary and beneficial in the workplace. But when we set ourselves unrealistic time limits on what we can do, this can have a counter productive effect on our business and a harmful impact on our well being and reputation.
What are the positives in sticking to a deadline? How can we manage and work effectively to a deadline? And what help is available externally to keep our business activities on target?
What are deadlines and how important are they in business?
Anyone who agrees to buy a product or service from a supplier enters into a contract on the understanding they will receive the item or benefit in due course. The time period that is expected or that is agreed between both parties is the business deadline. It is an unspoken arrangement that the supplier will handover the goods or services within that time frame, or the contract becomes null and void. The recipient would be within their rights to withdraw their offer of purchase if the supplier does not fulfil the promise in the expected time, which shows how binding this arrangement is. But in reality, whilst most businesses endeavour to reach these goals, more often that not deadlines are passed by.
According to media strategist and bestselling author Kevin Daum "The number one rule of business is reliability, and yet, deadlines seem to come and go with great ease."
Setting time limits for windows of activity to work towards and achieve a common goal keeps a business moving and on track. It also helps your customers to build trust that you can deliver what you say you can and ensures your business functions more effectively reaching optimum performance levels. On an individual level, stress is reduced, productivity regulated and morale maintained when targets are set and reached.
Additionally, deadlines encourage us to move out of our comfort zone and rise to a new challenge if we view them with a positive attitude and respond in a planned and organised way. This helps towards creativity and ultimately the diversity of a business.
Missing a deadline costs the individual, with loss of respect, damage to reputation and hindering career prospects, as well as the company resulting in reduced revenue and loss of custom. Sticking to deadlines is therefore in everyone's interests, so why don't we keep to them?
Why is it hard to stick to your deadlines?
A business may be well aware of the advantages of setting time limits but might make poor decisions when these are affected by the following factors:
- Wanting to please or impress others
- Over estimating their ability to deliver
- Not managing their time effectively
- Thinking they perform better under extreme pressure when in reality the opposite is true
It seems then that the negative impact on a business does not arise from implementing target timescales but putting into effect unrealistic ones. So how can you set realistic goals in achieving your deadlines?
How can you achieve your deadline?
Have in mind the following checklist when it comes to setting a realistic date for submitting a forthcoming task or job:
- Think of the final stage of the job and work backwards in stages estimating how long each piece will take
- Have a contingency deadline a day or so before the actual date
- Once the date is set get to work on the project immediately
- Do not allow any unnecessary tasks to infiltrate into the project
- Allocate tasks to colleagues setting them mini deadlines for completion
- Get plenty of sleep to help with productivity
- If the final stage runs down to the wire do whatever is needed to get the job in on time
What happens when you don't meet your deadline?
If you fail to meet a deadline don't beat yourself up over it! It happens to us all but the main thing is to keep your customer informed well in advance if you think there is a likelihood of not making the date. Give them the courtesy of a reason for the delay, indicating how much time you will need to complete it. This will soften the blow and give them an opportunity to respond reasonably.
To compensate for the inconvenience offer something extra by way of an apology such as a discount on the invoice; an additional product or a special offer on a future job, reassuring them the same thing will not happen!
How to organise the team
Juggling colleagues responsibilities in the project with outside suppliers needed to get the job done isn't easy but with some well thought out planning and on the spot adjustments along the way, you can achieve great things.
At the start of the project all those involved need to be clear about what is required of them within a specified timescale. Have on standby other members who could fill in should the unexpected happen. Always have a plan B.
For supplies that need to be bought in, contact the appropriate parties as soon as possible to reserve the required item or book the service. If this is neglected you may be left high and dry not able to complete the job on time! Always check the reputation of the supplier in sticking to their deadlines as choosing the right partnership with support trades could make or break the project.
Working alongside sister company Rollerbanners UK, Eazy Print is a trustworthy provider of printed displays, stands and literature to fulfil marketing needs. They are geared up to help out with any deadline crisis providing last minute roller banners, outdoor banners and flyers. Checkout the Next Day range of products on offer.
The company says of itself:
"Trusted to deliver - Roller Banners UK have delivered over 52,000 projects to more than 34,000 customers in the UK with a star rating of 4.8 on Google - you can trust us to deliver on time and to the highest of standards."
But don't just take their word for it. Read their customer feedback as testimony to their track record of delivering on time and stepping into the breach to avert a last minute panic!
The Eazy Print team will do their very best to help you keep to your deadlines by offering the 24 hours Express service on most items. All you have to do is submit artwork by 2pm and your urgent parcel will be with you the next day between 8.30am and 5pm. You can even track your order online to watch it's progression to your door! If you already have suitable artwork for your roller banner or printed product then your problems are over, but even if you don't, the studio are on hand to come up with something creative for your design for a minimal fee. No fuss. No problem!
Why trust Eazy Print with your printing?
- Designs are printed on modern, state of the art machines which run 24/7, generating hundreds of products every day.
- Modern computer programmes are used to produce the sharpest images and achieve the highest quality finish
- All design and print work is undertaken on one site
- All work is completed in line with the customer's specifications
- Any dissatisfaction or disappointment is sorted as soon as possible
- The company employs good team ethics
The Eazy Print team are committed to providing consistently high quality printed goods, as quickly as possible. No need to make a drama over a missed deadline, they make it their business to get the job done!
"If you need us to work faster, then please call us and we'll do everything we can to meet your timescales."