Meeting deadlines makes a difference in your productivity and directly affects pay and opportunities in your career. My life on a farm has taught me more about the consequences of missing a deadline than anything else.

How To Never Miss A Deadline

How To Never Miss A Deadline

CEE Standard: Earning Income

Meeting deadlines is a skill that your students can use no matter what career path they decide to take. Many studies have shown that employees who maintain high productivity and have time-management skills are more successful and make more money. Help your students come up with systems in their life to help them be more productive in school now and in work later.

Deadlines will follow your students through their whole life, so teach them how to master them now.For more than 100 years, my great-grandfather, grandfather, and father have never missed an important deadline — no matter the excuse. My dad has had cancer twice, and still hasn’t missed a deadline. If you want to be like them, keep reading…

You’re now probably wondering who their bosses have been. Or how on earth they could be so self-disciplined. See, the men in my family are farmers. They don’t have a boss, per se, and they probably aren’t much more self-disciplined than you or me.

They are able to hit deadlines because of one woman. Or entity. Or spirit. Or being. Or… I don’t know. Her name is Mother Nature. I’m not sure if that’s politically correct. I should probably say “Parent Nature.” I’m not sure, but let’s stick with Mother Nature.

Farmers must follow the plan outlined by Mother Nature, or else they won’t make any money that year. Seriously. If they miss a single window of opportunity, that’s it for the year. With a consequence like that, a money-minded individual will never fail.

Mother Nature gives them a narrow window to plant their crops, a window to weed their crops, a window to water their crops, and a window to harvest their crops. It’s a chain that cannot be stopped.

I’ll do my best to explain how we can replicate Mother Nature in our own lives. After all, Mother Nature is what keeps these farmers on task. If we can create a Mother Nature–style routine in our own jobs, we too shall never miss a deadline. So how to emulate Mother Nature? Quite a task.

Systems. We need to put fail-safe systems in place in our own lives. The way to do this is by creating patterned deadlines with major consequences.

For instance, I have a writer for one of my websites. Each Sunday, I send her a week’s worth of assignments. I know that if I don’t deliver those assignments, her writing schedule will get derailed. I have a friend who has a trick for keeping himself on schedule at work. He asked his boss for a weekly review. During the review, my friend has to demonstrate that he has accomplished all of his weekly tasks. He also told his boss that if that weekly meeting is to be canceled for any reason, he must still report via email. He never slacks, or else he gets a reprimand from his boss.

Many successful people do things this way. I’ve often heard successful people offer this advice: “Say yes and figure out how to do it later.” People will agree to a deal and then have to scramble to make the deadline. 

But you know what? They keep their word, accomplish the task, and make that deadline. If you continue to increase your productivity, you will get more and more opportunities to increase your salary. We can do more than we think we can, as long as there are consequences for not succeeding.

Time-management is a skill crucial to meeting deadlines. If you cannot manage your time effectively, you are going to struggle to complete your tasks.

Since we can’t all have Mother Nature as our motivator, I think it’s important to create goals that must be completed, or else risk major consequences. For farmers, if they miss a deadline because they are feeling tired or having a tough week— they won’t raise a crop, and their family will do without. Big motivator.

Put a system in place that keeps work flowing. If work doesn’t flow, you fail.

Check List

  • What are the consequences of not completing your work?
  • What tasks do you have deadlines for?
  • How can you replicate Mother Nature in your life?
  • What types of productivity tools do you use to get your school assignments done now? Will some of those be useful when you start your career?
  • Do you need different systems for different tasks?
  • What systems have you tried that did not work for you?