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How to manage assignments, workload and
meet deadlines

"The work expands to fill the time available to finish." - Parkinson's law Deadlines are a source of anxiety for many, due to the consequences that non-compliance can bring. Establishing demanding and responsible deadlines and objectives for the delivery or completion of a project is part of the logic in any dynamic. Thus, the deadlines or deadlines should not be seen as a hindrance, but rather as a temporary reference that allows you to manage variables and distribute tasks.


First things first, what is a deadline? Deadlines are a narrow space of time in which a goal must be achieved. Sometimes this very connotation makes us see them as enemies, but if we play our cards wisely, they can become great allies. To do this, nothing better than to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these deadlines.



- They incite you to action as soon as possible When you narrow down a project, you automatically start assigning tasks, resources ... Speaking clearly, you work focused and you put the batteries knowing that you have to finish in a certain term.

- Commits you to a goal You make a commitment to yourself to achieve a goal. Your mind activates the hammer hammer mode until you start working and, once in it, you only want to finish each task to make the famous check and move on to the next.

- Keeps you away from procrastination Procrastination's best friend is a lack of target dates.

- Forces you to prioritize Having a close objective in time, with a series of tasks that almost deplete your blocks of time, forces you to ignore what is not an essential task to reach the goal.



If you have a short deadline and make mistakes in prioritizing your projects / tasks, you will lose the battle over time. If you go behind in time, the greater the pressure and stress. When the delays in the execution of projects arrive, pressure, anxiety and stress begin to appear and only increase exponentially over time.



1. Set a purpose and visualize the result Define and visualize the final result that you must obtain clearly. One of the biggest problems you can find is having a project finished and the teacher not agreeing with the result due to lack of understanding. Identify exactly what the desired result is including its quality. Do the same with your work team, collaborators and everyone involved in the execution. The idea is to minimize the unexpected.


2. Set priorities Now that you know what you want and how you want it, decipher what will lead your project directly to the established objective and mark it as a priority in your action plans. The priorities, in a simplified way, are responsible for removing everything that can hinder your course to the final destination and clearly indicate the way forward to dock at the desired place. You can use any of these strategies to set your priorities.


3. Visually highlight the priority tasks in the action plans so as not to overlook them under any circumstances. Remember every day the action plans and highlight the priority tasks, to avoid dedicating efforts to the wrong tasks.


4. Set goals Depending on the time available for the project, you should set monthly, weekly and daily goals. An interesting strategy is to set SMART goals:

✓ Specific

✓ Measurable

✓ Achievable

✓ Relevant

✓ Time-Bound


5. Divide the project into subprojects or stages Break down all the tasks you need to complete until you reach the goal you set and determine their due date. Even the smallest! It details all the necessary tasks to be carried out sequentially and those that you could do or delegate in parallel.


6. Distribute tasks realistically One way to correctly set and preview times is a Kanban board, which exists both in digital format and on a printed board. Try not to fall into hyper-optimism and plan more work each day than you or your work team can really handle. The day has a set number of hours. It has rest times, travel times and times to change focus between one task and another. When putting your action plan into action, one task at a time should be your team's top priority.


7. Take into account possible contingencies Your goal, but not your obsession, should be to get ahead of the deadline. Recognize the risks or contingencies that you may encounter during the execution phase and the possible solutions. Take into account the possible consequences of not finishing any of the phases of the project and the whole of it on time. In this case, the search for possible solutions to these consequences also applies.


8. Anticipate delays If in the end the work goes faster than expected, do not downplay your work or effort. Because do not doubt that a good part of the merit of that efficiency belongs to you. Do not forget that it is possible that in future jobs things will not be so shot. Having a little trust placed in the piggy bank never hurts for when they come badly.


9. Adopt the 1 minute rule Have your own rule to make your life easier. It is a simple concept called the one-minute rule, in which if something takes less than 60 seconds, then do it.


10. Review / Validate progress If necessary, use a whiteboard within the reach of the entire team to capture all the phases of the project and cross out what has been accomplished and clearly see what is pending with their dates. If you see that you will not be able to finish on time, do not hesitate to tell the teacher/professor as soon as possible, explaining the reasons objectively and without sweetening reality. In this way, it will become your ally and help you find a solution or reach a minimum agreement. Sharing information on time will always be much better than reaching the end of the term without having done your homework. In the latter case, you will be part of the problem and your professionalism will be called into question.


11. Lastly, don't miss the opportunity to reward yourself. Let yourself know that you have done a good job and give yourself a tribute.

Once you’ve read the text on the topic, it’s time to test your knowledge.

Solve the following practice exercises!

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