There are “3Ds” which can make any worker feel restless: Demotions, Deductions, and Deadlines. Demotion is probably a relatively low risk situation that won’t happen if we don’t mess up. Deductions unfortunately happens to paycheck every month. Deadlines, however, can make weekly, daily, or even hourly appearances. In addition to its more frequent “sightings”, what’s scarier is that if we miss deadlines, we might need to say unnecessary hellos to the other two Ds. No matter how we think of it, deadline is a scary thing.
On top of that, deadline can also be something stressful. Imagine a situation where a client starts calling relentlessly about a project that is supposed to be completed today, asking how the project is doing. Every 10 minutes phones ring, miscommunications become a thing, your manager is suddenly less forgiving, everybody adds espresso shots to their drinks, and somewhere in the corner you can hear an intern crying. It’s not exactly a pleasant situation. We understand how deadlines can bring chaos to a workplace, so we have prepared 5 tips for you to prepare for deadlines.
1. Eyes on the Prize
The first thing to keep in mind is to remind ourselves of our goals. Without knowing the end result of a project, it’s easy to wander around aimlessly, go back and forth, and waste a lot of time. On the contrary, keeping a clear goal in mind is a good way to work efficiently. If the goal still seems vague, communicate with everyone (including the client) so that goals are clearly stated and expectations can be met, or at least negotiated.
2. Plan Your Tasks
Planning can help you manage your tasks and energy. Divide your tasks into smaller, reasonable actions that are doable. For instance, 100 monthly tasks can be translated into 5 daily tasks if you work 5 days a week / 20 days a month. If possible, take up slightly more works on a good day so that you can spare some room for either unexpected things (like sudden requests and necessary revisions)… or a well-deserved rest.
3. Keep Yourself in a Good Mood
In terms of meeting deadlines, procrastination is a dangerous threat. In a 2013 study on procrastination which published on The New York Times, it was found that procrastination is closely related to your mood. Simply put, people procrastinate because they need to deal with negative emotions. This is why keeping yourself in a good mood is a good way to combat procrastination even before it starts. So, relax, get yourself some mood boosters, and lighten up.
4. Prioritize Completion over Quality
This tip is more accurate for perfectionists who strive to give the best in their work. We understand that perfectionism is an admirable quality. But keep in mind that an unfinished task is still an unfinished task, no matter how good it may seem. When there is a tension between completion and quality (especially as the deadline draws near), prioritize the former and compromise the latter.
5. Work as A Team
Last but not least, working as a team (as opposed to working merely in a team) can be a great help in terms of meeting deadlines. When you feel stuck, some help or feedback from your fellow co-workers can provide insights to continue your work. At the same time, offer help for colleagues who seem to have some trouble. Big projects can never be completed alone, so submitting works punctually often relies on good collaboration.
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