How to Keep Track of Deadlines Tips & Tools to Help You Succeed

Deadlines are part of our lives, whether we like them or not. Moreover, meeting deadlines is an essential ingredient of success. And meeting them is mostly depends on one questions: How to keep track of deadlines effectively?

In this guide, I will show you some simple tips and the best tools to stay organized and never miss a deadline again. 

Let’s begin! 

Tips to track deadlines effectively and avoid missing them

If you struggle with tracking deadlines, do not worry—you are not alone. It is a common problem that can be stressful and frustrating. Here are some useful tips that can make the process easier for you. 

Set realistic deadlines

It is crucial to set realistic deadlines if you want to achieve success. Do not try to impress others or boost your ego by setting ambitious timelines. Doing so will easily result in failure, stress, and disappointment. Be real about what you can achieve within a given timeframe.

Setting realistic deadlines involves considering various factors, such as the complexity of the task, the resources available, and the skills and experience of the team members involved. It is vital to communicate with all the stakeholders involved in the project and get their input on a realistic timeline. 

If someone else gives you deadlines for a project, the process is pretty much the same. You need to consider each factor and ask for more time before starting the project if needed.

When I started working, I used to set some unrealistic deadlines for myself. But then I realized that quality is more important than speed. Trying to rush things and working within tight deadlines will affect the quality of the work, and it could impact how others perceive you. Learning this took me some time, but now I prioritize quality over speed.

Break down big projects

Breaking down big projects into smaller milestones can make it easier to manage and track progress, ultimately impacting how easily you keep track of deadlines. If you do not divide the project into smaller pieces, you can easily overlook deadlines related to a task you did not know. 

Honestly, I can relate to this one as well. Sometimes, I just jump right into work without fully understanding the project as a whole and asking all the important questions. There have been times when I completely missed specific tasks, which ended up messing with the deadlines. But I learned my lesson: the easiest deadline to miss is the one you do not know. 

Furthermore, dividing the project into smaller tasks can help you avoid procrastination and feeling overwhelmed. Start with breaking the project into smaller tasks and setting deadlines for each

Keep deadlines visible

Visibility is key for successful deadline management. It is easy to forget deadlines when you can not see them at least once daily, particularly when dealing with multiple deadlines. 

You can use an app or just a paper for this, depending on your preferences. The bottom line is to keep them visible so you can see your upcoming due dates

Set reminders

You can use alarms, notifications, or calendar reminders to prompt you about upcoming deadlines. Setting reminders will help you stay on track and avoid missing important deadlines. Just make sure not to rely solely on reminders and keep track of deadlines in other ways as well.

Prioritize tasks

Not all tasks are created equal, and a good project manager knows the difference between them. Prioritizing tasks is crucial when it comes to meeting deadlines. You need to identify the critical tasks and prioritize them accordingly. These are the tasks that move the needle in a project.

Focusing first on the most essential tasks allows you to maximize your output even though you cannot finish everything. 

how to keep track of deadlines
with the Eisenhower Matrix
Eisenhower Matrix. Source: Imperfectinspiration

The Eisenhower Matrix is an excellent way to organize tasks according to urgency and importance, effectively identifying and prioritizing the critical tasks. It will help you focus on the tasks that require immediate attention and avoid getting sidetracked with less vital tasks.

Add some buffer time

Giving extra time to your deadlines is a great way to prepare for unexpected hiccups or delays. The buffer time can be the difference between easily meeting or missing a deadline. Adding some buffer time is especially useful when dealing with new projects and when unsure about the steps to take.

So, next time agreeing on deadlines, add some buffer time to account for any unforeseen circumstances. It will help you stay on track and reduce stress. 

Use tools that are easily accessible

Using tools that are easily accessible can make it easier for you to manage deadlines. Accessing deadlines and tasks from your mobile device, desktop, or tablet can be a lifesaver if you live a busy life. Whenever you are looking for a tool that helps you in tracking deadlines, opt for a tool that is accessible from many devices.

For instance, if you choose to use Todoist, you can also access your to-do list from your iPhone or Android phone.

Avoid procrastination

Avoiding procrastination is critical to avoid missing deadlines. Procrastination is one of the main enemies of productivity, leading to frustration and demotivation, besides missing important dates.

how to keep track of deadlines
and beat procrastination
Beating procrastination.

However, there are many strategies you can apply in your everyday life to beat procrastination, like eliminating distractions, staying focused, setting up goals, or planning your day. The first thing you can do is admit that you are procrastinating and implement the right habits.

Use time blocking

When it comes to deadline management, time blocking is an efficient way to maximize your time management. When you block time for deep work with a specific, it provides a more structured way of dealing with tasks than multitasking all day. Utilizing this approach, you can plan your workload for the future and see how much time does it take approximately to finish with the specific project.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that time blocking always goes hand-in-hand with the priorities. Give yourself more time to the most important tasks. By doing so, you can ensure that your work is completed to the highest possible standard. 

Keep track of progress

Keeping track of progress is an essential aspect of meeting deadlines. It helps you identify potential problems early on, adjust your plan accordingly, and ensure that you are on track to meet your deadlines. 

You can use task or project management tools to keep track of progress. These tools allow you to monitor task completion, deadlines, and overall progress. They also help you identify tasks behind schedule and adjust your plan accordingly.

Regular check-ins with your team members is also crucial to keeping track of progress. It allows you to get updates on task completion and identify any problems. Regular communication can also help you identify potential issues and come up with solutions before they become significant problems.

In summary, keeping track of progress is crucial to meeting deadlines. Use project management tools and regularly communicate with your team members to ensure you are on track to meet your deadlines.

The best tools to keep track of deadlines

Let’s jump into the best tools to keep track of deadlines and stay focused! 

AI calendar apps

Reclaim AI's calendar view can help you accomplish more
Reclaim can help you to keep track of deadlines.

Unlike a regular calendar app, AI scheduling assistants can support you in many other ways. An AI scheduling assistant continuously learns and understands your work and scheduling habits. Based on your provided working hours, tasks, priorities, and feedback, the AI scheduler will build a weekly schedule that suits you.

Needless to say, these tools also send you notifications to keep you updated on what is coming up in your schedule. Compared to standard calendar apps like Google Calendar, these apps offer more possibilities to customize your notification settings.

Furthermore, they can combine all your calendars into one view, so you do not have to check your personal and work calendars, but you can see them in one place. By merging all your calendars into one, you will never lose track of deadlines again. 

Some AI-powered calendars also have task and project management features. While Motion is primarily a calendar, it can also work as a lightweight project management tool. 

Motion app review: task management feature
Motion‘s project management feature can assist you with managing your tasks.

Finally, an AI scheduling assistant can provide details about time spent on tasks, meetings, workload, or work-life balance metrics. With these details and visualizations, you can beat procrastination easier than ever.

Related readings:

Task management apps

Best AI Productivity Tools That Will Change the Way You Work - Task management
Todoist is more than just a to-do-list app.

A task management app is a powerful tool that goes beyond a simple to-do list. It helps individuals and teams to plan, organize, and prioritize tasks efficiently. 

Features like reminders, due dates, assigning tasks, creating sub-tasks, and progress tracking enable users to stay on top of their workload and meet deadlines. Additionally, it allows users to categorize and label tasks, add action items, attach files, and collaborate with team members, making it an essential tool for personal and professional use.

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Project management tools

For example, ClickUp can help to optimize resource allocation with a good overview of the workload
ClickUp is one of the best project management tool.

If you are dealing with complex projects and tight deadlines, a project management tool can be an ideal solution. It can assist you in tracking deadlines and aspects like workload management, resource allocation, collaboration with your team, or assigning tasks to multiple people. 

Using a top project management tool allows you to easily keep track of project progress, due dates, identify potential roadblocks, and ensure that everyone on your team is working towards the same goals. Ultimately, the proper tool can streamline your workflows and increase your team’s productivity

Related readings:

Summary: How to keep track of deadlines

I often say there are no magic tools but the right habits that make a real difference. It is the same here with deadline management. 

There is no secret formula to keep track of deadlines all the time. It is all about implementing the right habits. You can use traditional paper planners or modern apps to manage your deadlines. However, the trick to effective time management is developing proper habits.

To maximize productivity and achieve your goals, you must build habits and routines that allow you to work efficiently. Once you have these habits, you can use tools and technologies to excel your skills. Calendar, task, and project management tools have great potential to improve your time management and make you more organized. But remember – how far they take you is up to you.

Frequently asked questions

How to track multiple due dates?

Even one due date can be a significant challenge if that relates to a complex project. But if you have multiple due dates, it becomes more trickier.

The first thing you can do is to understand the project and related tasks as a whole. Secondly, you need to prioritize among the tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix. It involves categorizing tasks based on their level of urgency and importance. Lastly, give yourself some buffer time to ensure you complete the tasks on time. 

How do you manage upcoming deadlines?

I suggest creating a to-do list or utilizing a task management tool to manage upcoming deadlines. Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones and set specific deadlines for each. Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency, and try to work on them in a focused and organized manner.

It is also essential to be realistic about what you can accomplish within a given timeframe and to communicate with others if you need help or if deadlines need to be adjusted.

How do you meet unrealistic deadlines?

The best way is to prevent the situation when you or someone else sets you an unrealistic deadline. But if that already happened and you can not adjust it, here are a few ways you can try to accomplish it:

  1. Break down the task into smaller parts and prioritize them based on importance and urgency.
  2. Avoid multitasking and focus on one task at a time.
  3. Eliminate distractions and stay focused on the task at hand.
  4. Work smarter, not harder, using tools and resources to help you complete the task faster.
  5. Communicate effectively with your team and stakeholders about the deadline and any potential roadblocks.

Can you use Google Calendar to track time?

Integrating a time-tracking tool into Google Calendar can help you record the time spent on each task. Ultimately, a time-tracking tool makes it easier for you to manage your time and stay organized.

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