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The Productivity Secret: Create a World Without Deadlines

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AccelaWork principal Robby Slaughter has another article in the Indianapolis Business Journal this week. The piece is titled “Imagine a World Without Deadlines.”

Here’s an excerpt from the full essay:

Deadlines might seem like a necessary aspect of all human endeavors. But the word itself doesn’t come from highly organized corporations. The first recorded appearance of “deadline” in English dates from the Civil War. This usage indicates a point beyond which soldiers are authorized to shoot escaping prisoners. Stay within the zone, this term seems to promise, and you might not end up dead.

Anyone working on deadline can sympathize with these convicts. We, too, are trapped by an invisible line we must not cross, and each step toward the point of no return fills us with impending dread. It’s true that completed work must be handed off from one person to the next, but perhaps we can find a better working model than one originally coined for violent reprisal. Perhaps we should focus not on what happens when we fail, but how and where we can work together.

Business Improvement: Working on Deadline

© Flickr user barakmich

Deadlines are everyday aspect of business workflow. But they really only make sense when you’re working independently, not collaboratively. Slaughter continues:

A change away from deadlines toward collaboration zones cannot be done instantly or without coordination. If I send my editor an incremental update to this essay every day, it will result in annoyance rather than increased productivity. Instead, we need a way for us both to be able to view and edit these words at the same time without the hassle of managing file versions, sending documents via e-mail, receiving and opening attachments, then replying with feedback.

This doesn’t require advanced technology. You can encourage a smarter business process by putting people and resources in the same place. A whiteboard is a much better indicator of status than a series of phone calls. A posted draft is a much cleaner system for showing overall progress than having countless outdated versions in everyone’s email inbox.

Deadlines probably shouldn’t be used so much in your organization. For more information about how to improve productivity in your business, talk to the productivity experts at AccelaWork today.

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