Archives for posts with tag: Deadline

There are some jobs where deadlines are constantly present. Journalism for one.

There are also people who can’t seem to work unless they have a deadline in front of them. Are journlists in that category too? Some of them I guess.

The thing that many of us experience with working to deadlines is that the closer the deadline is, the more we get done. When you have to make a deadline you cut through the unnecessary and get to the nub of what your project is all about. This is fine for creating something with words, but when you’re involved with something that has an already defined process, like a complex sales process, one that you can’t bypass or cut short, then you’ve got problems. Then, it’s not your deadline, the end of your sales month for example, that counts, it’s your customer’s deadline.

With the more undefined processes, though, like writing for example, it pays me in my daily work to create deadlines to maximise my productivity. If there aren’t deadlines on a job, or the deadline is a long way from now, create an artificial deadline to work to. Or, split the project up into pieces and create mini-deadlines. For example, can I create two blog posts before lunchtime? Can I get the last page finished before this meeting starts? Can I reach the half way mark before the end of the day?

Of course, the risk you run with this approach is that you’re always producing shoddy, rushed work, work that would have benefitted form a little more time, and a less demanding deadline. That’s the balance between the two that we strive for: the best we can strive for versus the commercial reality imposed by time being money.

If you want to relax on your time off, and simply while away the time in those most luxurious moments when you have the luxury of time, then simply set no targets for the day, no objectives.

As an example, yesterday I set myself the goal of thinking up a blog post topic in the three minutes’ time I had before a call started. I came up with this one, and wrote it today.

There’s something rewarding about getting something off your desk, and onto someone else’s. There’s a palpable sense of completion, even if it’s a first draft or a small milestone in a large project. It’s an even better feeling if it’s the end of a project. You got it done!

These days, it’s not that it’s off your desk or in your out-tray. It’s usually in your sent items, not weighing down your inbox or your task list. For now it’s someone’s else’s problem. Someone else has to complete the next stage in the process.

And feeling that sense of completion is OK too. It’s often your internal customer or boss who’s requested something from you, and here you are,┬ádelivering it to them, for them to review and kick it back to you for the next stage.

After I’ve prioritised my work for the week and for each day, I allocate a certain number of hours or part-days to each job, depending on how involved it is. This allows me to hit my own deadlines and keep to realistic targets. This also means that if I’m on time with a job I can get it off my desk at the end of a morning, the end of a day, or before a break and the start of the next job.

When it’s off your desk, it’s a demarcation point, a chance to take a breather and re-set for the next piece of work. And when it’s off your desk, it’s on someone else’s :-). Speaking of which, I must click Schedule and get this post off my desk…