Nail every deadline

Everyone handles deadlines differently, but if you want to keep your career on track you need a systematic approach to make sure you’re meeting them. Here are a few tips.

•  Weigh the wiggle room. Different people mean different things when they set a deadline. Figure out if “by close of business” means just that or really “on my desk when I arrive tomorrow.”

•  Learn where your piece fits with the big picture. If other people are waiting for your work so they can complete theirs, then the deadline is critical.

•  Have a plan B. If you realize you won’t hit the deadline, you’ll know what to do: Turn in part and keep working on the rest or just turn the whole thing in late.

— Adapted from “Dealing With Deadlines,” ACS Careers, Chemical & Engineering News.