Countdown to a Deadline: Time Management Tips for Tackling Looming Deadlines


Planning a family vacation, but looking at a mountain of work? Is a looming client deadline getting too close for comfort? What about that major product launch that requires a laundry list of to-do’s to go off without a hitch?

It doesn’t matter the deadline or the to-do’s, the time frame or the task list, the approach is the same: you need to countdown to your deadline with a CLEAR PLAN. When there’s no time to waste, you need to make every second count!

3-2-1 – GO!

Counting Down to Your Deadline

Get a Handle on the BIG Picture – Stop and take inventory of what needs to be done down to the smallest detail. Tackling a big deadline requires fully understanding exactly what you are up against so don’t forget to include personal and family activities as well.

Do the Math Reality Check – Assign each task a time estimate. Guess high (and yes, add a 10% buffer). Now calculate how much time between now and your deadline you have to dedicate to your deadline. This step will help you prioritize AND create a sense of urgency.

Ruthlessly Prioritize – Chances are you have way more to-do than you can reasonably accomplish. Start by figuring out which tasks you can skip, which ones fall to the very bottom of the list, and which ones absolutely positively must get done.

Map Out a Step-by-Step Plan – Only the essential tasks make it to the step where you put your plan to paper and be reasonable about how much time you have to work with. It’s okay to assume weekends and evenings for the short-term, but if you deadline is months away, don’t count on those extra hours or you risk burning yourself out.

Find Opportunities to Cut Time – Now that you are facing a seriously busy schedule, find ways to cut time. This means looking for opportunities for efficiencies, like batching tasks or doubling up on related tasks as well as dumping or delegating a few more tasks.

Do Regular Time Checks – Refer back to your step-by-step plan regularly. Are you where you should be in terms of your tasks? Is it still reasonable for you to hit your deadline? If not, you need to adjust your schedule or cut out a few more ‘Nice to Have’ tasks.

Stay Focused on the Countdown – Avoid distractions! That means spending less time where you are the most tempted (ahem…social media) and posting reminders to keep you on track. Use your regular time checks to stay focused and motivated to reach your goal!

This post was brought to you by a seriously hectic week with an incredible amount of to-do’s, but with a little bit of planning and a lot of focus, everything that had to get done got done!


About Author

Carla Young, Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!


  1. Great tips Carla, these are very helpful to meet deadline. Focus and self discipline are the keys in order to get things done and meet deadlines. I work as a freelancer and working with different clients make me very hustle. In order for me to get all things done and meet deadlines I effectively handle my time. One thing that helps me manage time is by using a tool Time Doctor, which I use to list my entire tasks. I also prioritize tasks on it and set an estimated amount of time when working on each tasks.

Leave A Reply