Being successful in life does not happen overnight. While the definition of success may vary, most people will agree that successful people know how to get things done. The only way that can happen is when they create a schedule and keep to it. A recent article in the Washington Post reports that most Americans average 47 hours of work each week. That does not include complicated schedules for the family.

Keeping a schedule requires deadlines. Although many people cringe when they hear the word, it is still necessary for success. Those who flourish in business and their personal lives know that things must be completed on time. If you want to tackle deadlines more efficiently, take some tips from the pros:

1. Create Some Wiggle Room

Although you may try to set a reasonable time for certain tasks, not all deadlines are convenient. Some may have a near impossible time line. Before your nerves get all frazzled, break the task into small parts and create a “deadline before the deadline”. It bids you a little extra time in case of unforeseen problems. Anyone who has every worked on a project knows that smooth sailing is rarely the case. Your pre-deadline should be a couple of days before the actual one. Do not wait until the night before to find out something is missing.

2. Here Is Your Sign!

Have you ever noticed the workplace of very busy people? They are practically wallpapered with highlighted calendars and sticky notes. Successful people always keep their tasks visible, so they will not be easily forgotten. Make use of your desk calendar and note important deadlines (and pre-deadlines). If you like paperless organization, then create notes in your daily computer applications. Many of them will send you email and text alerts as your deadlines approach. Computerized calendars can be shared with coworkers who are also working on the project.

3. Keep Your Usual Schedule In Mind

Unless your job and schedule is completely unpredictable (such as the medical field), you probably have time frames. For example, you might have to create a report that is due every month or quarterly. These set deadlines are easy to keep on a monthly or quarterly calendar. It will make things a little less complicated when there are deadlines between the usual ones. Break your deadlines into convenient sections so you are not overwhelmed.

4. Two Is Better Than One

Successful people understand that life is complicated and small details may get lost. When you set a date on your calendar (whether paper, computer, or iPhone), give yourself a reminder. If you have a meeting planned on Friday, put in a reminder on Wednesday. It will keep the deadline fresh in your mind.

5. Successful People Are Dependable

Supervisors value employees who are always on time with their deadlines. It is often one of the most important criteria when considering you for a promotion or a raise. If you are diligent with smaller jobs, then management will trust you for greater responsibilities. Another trait of successful people is that they promote the success of others. Some of your coworkers’ deadlines may depend on you completing yours. It is a vital chain reaction.

The more you meet your deadlines, the more experience you will have with ones in the future. While there is always stress involved with time-sensitive tasks, you can use these tools to make it a little easier. With some careful planning and avoiding procrastination, you may enjoy the success that you want.

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