How to Write a Deadline Extension Email: Samples Included

    Sometimes against our best wishes, we’re unable to finish a task at the designated time, or we simply underestimate how much time a project will take. In these scenarios, the only solution would be to send in a deadline extension email. There are many scenarios where you may need an extension, ranging from work, school to anywhere you have tasks with submission dates.

    Before writing the deadline extension email, which is a variation of an email to your boss asking for help, there are things you must know and questions you must answer before writing the email. 

    In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know, and include some samples to help you get started with writing your own email.

    What Is an Extension Deadline?

    An extension deadline email is an email written to your superior to request additional time if you’re unable to complete your current task at the stipulated deadline.

    Whenever you’re given a task and a deadline, and for any reason, you’re unable to complete the task at the stipulated deadline, the next course of action would be to send in an extension request.

    When to Ask for An Extension

    Knowing when to ask for an extension is as important as the extension itself. The perfect time to send in an extension request is when you find out you’d be unable to complete the task at the given time.

    People often make the mistake of waiting until a day or mere hours before the task is expected to be delivered to ask for an extension. This can be cataclysmic for several reasons, the most important being that the closer the deadline, the more your supervisor or boss zeroes their mind that you’d be able to complete the task.

    By sending the email immediately the realization sets in, you give your supervisor time to plan and adjust the project workflow instead of leaving them scrambling.

    There are several reasons why you may be unable to complete a project at the stipulated time. Knowing these reasons helps you write a better email and offers more insight into the challenges you might be dealing with.

    Here are some of the most common reasons to request a deadline extension:

    ● Project required more input than you initially calculated: It’s possible to grossly underestimate the sheer amount of time and effort a particular task would need, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Once you realize you’ve bitten more than you can chew, ensure to report to your supervisor immediately.

    ● You don’t have all the tools you need: Sometimes, the holdup with a project may not entirely be your fault. If you have to work with other members of your team or use tools that aren’t readily available, this would affect the project’s timeline and should be duly communicated.

    ● You handled a different task: You may have to call the shot on the urgency of certain tasks. If a more urgent task arises, you can send a deadline extension email asking for more time.

    ● Personal Emergencies: One thing we have no power over is personal emergencies. If a personal emergency comes up and it affects your ability with your current task, then an email should be sent as well.

    When sending these kinds of emails, you must suggest solutions and actions you’ve already taken. Your boss would appreciate your email better if you listed some possible solutions.

    How to Ask for A Deadline Extension?

    Here’s a list of everything you need to do/know before writing the email to ask for help:

    1. Decide the medium: The correct way to send a deadline extension message is by your default communication medium. If email is your default, use it. If it’s slack, use it. But whichever platform you use, make sure to keep a trail as this would come in handy if you need to prove that you actually sent the message.
    1. Understand the nature of the project: Depending on the scope and stakes of the project, some projects cannot afford to be delayed. In this case, you need to reach out to your boss and devise a solution to ensure the project is completed.
      This solution can be anything from additional manpower or providing better tools. Bear in mind that for this to work, you would need to inform your supervisors in advance.
    1. Explain your reasons for requesting more time: This is easily the most important part of your letter as it explains the challenge that altered that task’s deadline. When writing this, you must ensure it is void of emotions and sticks to the facts.
    1. Provide possible solutions: No boss likes an employee who only brings problems and never solutions. When sending your email, include a list of solutions you’ve tried and some you need their approval on. In doing this, you take the heavy lifting off their shoulders; all they need to do is greenlit.
    1. Show your commitment by sharing progress: Doing this will reaffirm to your boss that you were working on the task and are not merely looking to pawn it off. Knowing how far you’ve come with the task helps your boss with task flow.

    2. Propose a new deadline: While your boss may not always agree to your deadlines, you should suggest one. Before choosing a deadline, you need to ensure that come what the task will be done by then. This is because nothing spells inefficient more than sending a second deadline extension letter.
    1. Express gratitude: In your email, acknowledge your boss for their time and patience and assure them you’re working hard to complete the task.

    Deadline Extension Email Template One

    Subject: Deadline Extension for task

    Dear [Boss],

    I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing to request an extension on the [project name] project, which is scheduled to be completed by [current deadline].

    There are a few reasons why I think an extension is necessary. First, [reason for an extension]. Second, [additional reason for an extension]. Finally, [additional reason for the extension, if applicable].

    I understand that an extension can cause some inconvenience, and I apologize for any disruption this may cause to the project. However, I believe that the additional time will allow us to produce a higher-quality product.

    I would like to propose a new submission date [proposed deadline]. This will give me the time I need to complete the project.

    Thank you for considering my request, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


    [Your name]

    Deadline Extension Email Template Two: Email to Professor Asking for Extension

    Dear Professor [Professor's name],

    I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing to request an extension on the deadline for the [name of the project].

    My reason for requesting this extension is because [reason for needing extension], and as a result, I would be unable to complete this project at the stipulated time.

    I am confident that with a little extra time, I can submit a high-quality project. I would be more than grateful if you could grant me an extension until [requested date].

    I completely understand if my request isn’t granted, an extension is impossible.

    Thank you for your time and consideration


    [Your Name]

    Deadline Extension Email Template Three: Extension Due to Personal Emergency

    Dear [Recipient’s Name],

    I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to inform you that I have had a family emergency and will need an extension on the [name of project].

    My [family member] has been [situation], and I am their sole caregiver responsible for caring for them. As a result, I have not been able to devote my full attention to the [project] as I had originally planned.

    I understand the importance of meeting deadlines, and do not take this request lightly. I am confident that with a little extra time, I can submit a better project. I would greatly appreciate it if you could grant me an extension until [proposed date].

    Here’s a link to what I’ve done so far, please let me know if you have any thoughts.

    Thank you for your understanding and for considering my request. Please let me know if you have any questions or complaints.


    [Your Name]


    We have included everything you need to know to write a deadline extension letter. Remember that the most important thing when writing this kind of letter is to send it as soon as you feel the need. We’ve included some samples to help you get started.

    Jim Blessed
    Jim Blessed
    Jim Blessed is a certified content specialist. He's a versatile and accomplished writer with diverse knowledge in creating unique content for different niches. When he's not clicking away at his keyboard or learning new things, he's listening to or reading other peoples' thoughts.

    Also Read:

    Want more career success? Improve your online communication.

    Search Woculus

    Related Posts


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Want superior results, better communication?

    Free eBook: All The Tools You Need to Write Emails Like a Professional

    Download and start writing emails like a professional.


    Your eBook is on the way! Please check your email in 5 minutes.