It is widely assumed that scheduling real-time tasks becomes more difficult as their deadlines get shorter. With deadlines shorter, however, tasks potentially compete less with each other for processors, and this could produce more contention-free slots at which the number of competing tasks is smaller than or equal to the number of available processors. This paper presents a policy (called CF policy) that utilizes such contention-free slots effectively. This policy can be employed by any work-conserving, preemptive scheduling algorithm, and we show that any algorithm extended with this policy dominates the original algorithm in terms of schedulability. We also present improved schedulability tests for algorithms that employ this policy, based on the observation that interference from tasks is reduced when their executions are postponed to contention-free slots. Finally, using the properties of the CF policy, we derive a counter-intuitive claim that shortening of task deadlines can help improve schedulability of task systems. We present heuristics that effectively reduce task deadlines for better scheduability without performing any exhaustive search.