Well, here we are–June. Almost six months have passed!. I know people say this all the time, but where has the time gone? Most of us started the year off making resolutions, goals and deadlines, and if you’re like me, some of those deadlines started to get a little tight. What do you do when that happens?
I’m in the process of writing my first book. I mapped out a whole plan for launching the book and all the projects that accompanied it. After completing the first draft and receiving feedback from my editor, it became very obvious that the deadline needed to be changed. Was I frustrated? Yes. Was I slightly discouraged? Yes. So what did I do? I consulted with my team, and we moved the deadline. Simple as that. I don’t recommend doing this all the time because if you’re constantly needing to readjust deadlines, then you probably have a bigger problem with planning, procrastination or discipline, which is a topic for another day. However, I have learned, throughout my professional experience with project management, and just with life, in general, that sometimes, we need to go back to the drawing board and adjust our expectations. It’s ok to do that. Even the best laid-out plans need readjusting due to circumstances out of our control. Nobody can perfectly predict time-lines and outcomes, and we shouldn’t feel any sense of defeat when changes need to be made. The key is to make the most realistic and informed preparations that you can, with the flexibility to reassess if needed.
When you go back to the drawing board, make sure that you keep several factors in mind–your current and future professional workload as well as personal obligations, the workload and personal obligations of your team, how the deadline shift may affect your resources, etc. You should try to minimize the chances of having to change the deadline again, so make sure this new assessment is thorough. If you find that deadlines have created an added level of stress for you, Forbes.com published a quick ten-step guide to help minimize deadline stress. Check it out here: 10 Approaches You Can Use To Minimize Deadline Stress. Whatever your situation, remember that readjusting is sometimes necessary. Recognizing the need to do so is a sign of maturity, humility and good, old-fashioned, leadership. Take the time needed to regroup, and go forward with confidence, knowing that the new deadline will help you and the team achieve outcomes that you all can be proud of.