When entering a new project into FunctionFox, you have the option of setting a due date for that project or choosing the ‘Ignore Due Date’ function. This allows for those handful of open-ended projects that many companies have — typically internal projects used to track things like office administration duties or employee vacation time. It is tempting, however, to ignore the due date for every project that you enter; after all, deadlines are often a source of stress and anxiety — why apply one if you don’t have to? This may seem like a good plan; however, due dates are an important part of an efficient project schedule, and not applying due dates to your projects will ultimately hurt more than it will help.

Two or three projects with undefined due dates may not seem like a big deal, but in a fast-paced agency, those two or three projects can multiply quickly. Suddenly you are looking at a list of a dozen projects, all without due dates! Scrambling to meet deadlines is never fun, but neither is scrambling to figure out which projects need the most attention, which projects can be put on the back-burner for a day or two, and which projects are finished and can be closed out and removed from the list altogether. Without due dates, it is difficult for your team to prioritize projects or manage their time effectively, which in turn makes it hard to communicate progress to the client. If you can provide realistic project schedules with clearly defined due dates, this helps to communicate what you expect from your team, as well as manage your client’s expectations. It is much easier to identify any roadblocks in your workflow process which may be affecting overall productivity when there are due dates to adhere to.

Pick a due date, any due date. Even if it is an interim deadline, this will help everyone involved assess current workload. No due dates mean a lack of visibility into what your team is currently working on. If you cannot accurately see what they are working now, or what is coming up next, it becomes very difficult to gauge your team’s capacity or predict how much time they will need for incoming projects. A lack of due dates also means a lack of historical data. If you are unable to refer to due dates for past projects, there is no way to accurately know how long that project took to complete, and the timeline for similar projects will be mostly based on guesswork.

FunctionFox provides you with all the tools you need to create and manage your project schedules effectively, due dates included. Make your work-life easier by resisting the urge to ignore due dates when entering new projects, because love them or hate them, due dates are an essential part of managing your workflow successfully.