We all miss deadlines once in a while. But have you ever wondered why we keep doing it? And how we can stop?
First, guess who’s to blame. No it’s not your teammates. It’s your brain. Our brain creates an unconscious bias that lures us into that trap. Its commonly known as the “planning fallacy”. It is the tendency of our brains to under-estimate the task at hand and either over-promise or under-perform, usually more over-promise. Our brains tricks us into blaming others for not meeting deadlines rather than our ineffectiveness of planning. The primary cause for the “planning fallacy” is the fact that our brains try to plan out the best-case scenario, not accounting for the hiccups. But hiccups do happen, almost always, and we end up exceeding our deadlines.
So then we would think that why do we need deadlines at all? Well, as it turns out, our brain also needs that spear in its back that forces it to get any work done. Without any deadlines, we might not get any work done at all. (Our brain’s weird, n’it?). Also, work expands to fill up the time it is given, also our brain’s doing.
So how can we work towards meeting these “required” deadlines (and make ourselves feel better)? Here are some pointers:
- Front-load your week: Finish harder, more time-consuming and important work before taking on trivial tasks.
- Retain a buffer in the deadline: Leave some lee-way for the hiccups.
- Publicize your deadlines: Making deadlines public make you more accountable (your brain working again).
- You can always use some digital help with reminders.
You can check out the complete post on lifehacker for a detailed analysis.