Picture this: you’re organizing an office party, and are working with a production company to create a short, three-minute video for your event.
Your contact asks you, “When do you need this video by?”
You look at your calendar and see that the day of the event is the 31st.
You say, “The 31st will be just fine.”
Is this a wise decision…or is it a poor one?
In this post, I’ll show you one of the big mistakes you may be making when it comes to setting deadlines with others.
Many people incorrectly set deadlines while working with others because they are only thinking about themselves.
Now, this doesn’t mean these people are selfish or anything. They are only looking at the project from their own perspective.
In reality, they should be looking at the project from another perspective…namely, the other person’s perspective.
From our example above, the production house really isn’t very concerned as to when you’ll show, or even use their video. That’s more of your concern.
What they are concerned about is delivering the item to you on the agreed upon time. They will have completed their end of the bargain, fair and square.
Problems often arise in these types of situations because the deadlines that are ultimately used are final deadlines. As we all know, it’s important to have some time buffer in case of delays, emergencies, material or equipment failure and the like.
Here are some tips to help you select relevant deadlines when working with others:
Select a due date at least a week in advance of your final due date.
This will give you enough of a time buffer in case your contact is late delivering the final product, or because of external factors beyond your control, such as bad weather, a business or personal emergency, the internet goes down, equipment breaks, etc.
If you’re really pressed for time, you may only be able to select a date a couple of days in advance of your final due date.
Don’t confuse due dates.
Keep your final due date to yourself. Again, that’s your concern. Your contact only needs to know when they need to deliver the item to you.
You may find it helpful to write down the separate due dates in your calendar, so you can easily glance at the calendar, and keep track of things.
Keep in touch with your contacts.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and check on the status of a project. It’s better to be in close communication just in case there are any questions, concerns, or changes.
Practice makes perfect.
It takes time to properly estimate how much time you’ll need to receive an item, review it, and approve it.
For the most part, if you’re not dealing with food or perishable items, you can receive an item, tuck it away in a safe place, and take it out when you need to use it.
When in doubt, tack on a couple of extra days to form a comfortable buffer.
How about you? How do you determine deadlines for projects? Have you ever had a product or item arrive late because of a miscalculations in the due date? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!