Deadlines can help you increase your overall productivity.

In the comic series “Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson, Calvin once says “You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet, you have to be in the right mood.” When asked what this magic mood is that facilitates creativity he replies “last minute panic!”

Now to be clear, Calvin is not exactly the epitome of productivity–and procrastination is never a wise choice. However, there is something to be said about the power of deadlines.

Here are three ways to that you can use deadlines to increase your overall productivity.

Use deadlines to better prepare a game plan to accomplish your task

Once you’ve established your due date, work backwards step by step and develop a plan to accomplish the task in the allotted time.

Keep the due date in mind so you can adjust pace as you work

You may find that certain activities may take more or less time than you originally planned for them.

If you know your due date you can make course corrections as you work to ensure that you don’t fall behind.

Use deadlines to push yourself like a runner to the finish line

Deadlines have this uncanny ability to help us push harder than we may have thought possible.

Whether it’s a month-end sales push, or sprint to release a new product in time, deadlines will help you work harder, longer, and more efficiently.

Deadlines help you organize your time. They help you set priorities. And, they make you get going when you might not feel like it–in fact, as Calvin teaches us, the greatest inspiration is the deadline!