What To Do When You Miss a Deadline

I recently missed a major deadline I set for myself.

Let me elaborate. Today is Labor Day in my home town, which means a public holiday. Yeah! It’s also the day I planned to launch my new eBook, except the book is not finished and I have to push back the release date. Not yeah!

I missed the deadline.

This post is written with your personal deadlines in mind but in some cases may apply to work situations as well, depending on how much flexibility and ownership you have at work.

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Any compensation I receive does not affect the price you pay.

Here are my thoughts on what to do when you miss a deadline.

Admit your frustration

First up, it’s important to admit your disappointment and any frustration you are experiencing. It’s important to process your feelings, so that they don’t get out of control and derail your plans and behaviors.

Getting angry at yourself definitely won’t help you, so try not to go there.

Related postHow to Stop Beating Yourself Up

Understand the importance of your personal deadlines

It occurred to me yesterday that in my full-time job I take deadlines seriously. Very seriously!

As much as I hate to admit this I realized that I don’t take my personal deadlines as seriously as I should.

This is a huge mistake on my part.

How is anyone supposed to take me seriously, if I don’t take myself seriously and respect my own deadlines!

Related post – The Importance of Hitting Your Personal Deadlines

Get yourself in the right head space

If you are feeling disappointment or frustration you need to do is own it – then let it go.

Find a way to release this negative energy. You might choose to exercise, meditate, listen to your favorite music, take the dog for a walk or do whatever helps you to get yourself in a positive state of mind.

Staying frustrated particularly if you are upset at yourself, won’t do you any favors. All it will do is play havoc with your concentration and cause you to procrastinate.

After a disappointment get yourself back in the right headspace (don’t take too long with this) and move on.

Related postThe Importance of Hitting Deadlines (this one is more work orientated, in case you were wondering)

Don’t change projects

This is where we might be inclined to change projects.

It’s not because we don’t still believe in the project, it’s usually because something shiny and new comes along.

Shiny and new means we can go back to the beginning which means we are further away from finishing something (which we may feel takes some of the pressure off).

Out of frustration, we move onto something else – which is often the reason we don’t get things finished.

Shiny new ideas don’t come with a history of built-in frustration, which is why they can seem appealing.

Ready to take action on your procrastination? This excellent book Conquer Procrastination: Proven Strategies to Maintain Productivity and Take Control of Your Life by Nadalie Bardo can help worth through your procrastination and achieve your plans.

Set a new deadline

This one goes without saying. You are going to need a new deadline.

A deadline needs to be an exact date. As in I will launch on Monday 29 October 2023. Not – I will launch at the end of October. If your deadline is wide open, it’s probably never going to happen.

If you can say you are going to launch on Monday 29 October 2023 at 10 am (or whatever time you choose) that’s even better.

It’s time to get out the calendar and set that deadline.

Set a realistic deadline

The reason that I missed the deadline in the first place is that it wasn’t realistic.

To be honest, I think I have a habit of setting unrealistic deadlines. Of course, at the time, I probably thought it was realistic!

When I set the original date I was thinking best case scenario. In a nutshell, I didn’t plan any time for unexpected problems, setbacks or changes to my daily schedule (like having to stay late at work or not feeling well).

Have a plan

I need to work out a detailed launch plan because the launch is about much more than just having the eBook finished.

You might be thinking if you were going to launch, shouldn’t you have had a plan already? You would be spot on with that assessment.

I do have a launch plan but unfortunately, it’s in my head.

Write down your plan factoring in as much detail as possible.

Related post – How to Stick to Your Plan

Schedule the time

Plans don’t mean squat if you don’t schedule the time to get the work done.

Man, I wish it did work this way but it does!

You can’t have a weekend filled with lots of catch ups, lunches and dinners and just say ‘I’ll fit it in there somewhere’. Don’t even try this, it doesn’t work!

You must schedule in when you are going to do the work.

Scheduling time off is important too. Take my plan for this weekend. It included taking time out on Sunday night to watch the NRL grand final with a friend. I had the night off to enjoy myself. Knowing I had that scheduled time off, makes the long hours spent at the computer much easier.

If I was to tell myself I will have a few drinks, watch the football and go back to work that’s just being unrealistic and setting myself up for disappointment. Be honest with yourself when you schedule.

Related postThe Importance of Finishing What You Start

Get to work

As always it comes down to doing the work.

It comes down to sitting at my computer and typing out the words. Lots of words that are hopefully strung together with meaning and inspiration!

When it all comes down to it, it’s about doing the work, getting it finished and sending it out into the world.

What projects do you have on at the moment that you need to get finished? What is your deadline?  

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Read Next – 16 Reasons You Are Not Achieving Your Goals