Disorganization wastes a lot of time, both at home and at work. Reverse calendaring is one technique for making sure important deadlines are met. Reverse calendaring starts with the final deadline and moves toward the beginning, making sure that there is an ample buffer for any surprises that may arise.
Once you have the scope of work set out, a team assembled, and due dates laid out, it is time to start reverse calendaring. Start by calendaring the final due date. Then working backwards, figure out how long each previous step is going to take. Calendar every event along the way in order to break up a large project into smaller, more easily-attained goals.
Another trick of reverse calendaring is to create internal and external deadlines. Make sure your internal due dates are well before your external ones. This provides you the time to proofread, fix errors and polish your work. Internal due dates also give you a buffer zone. When reverse calendaring, it is prudent to plan for the worst. Should a computer crash or someone on the team fail to deliver, you will still be able to meet your deadlines.
Many different types of project management software are available, all with varying price tags, to help you organize your projects. However, to start reverse calendaring all you really need is an old-fashioned paper calendar.
Reverse calendaring is a very versatile time management tool. It can be used for out-of-office meetings, complicated business projects, and even for your personal calendar. By using reverse calendaring, you will make sure all necessary steps are taken, problems are spotted before they arise, and everyone is organized around the same schedule. This will assure that you and your team under-promise, over-deliver, and always look good.