I find meeting deadlines to be very easy to do. This is because I often push them back.
It’s a terrible habit and one I am working to rectify. As an online content writer, it is very rare for me to miss a deadline a client has put forward for an article, but I have to admit that I’m sometimes bad at meeting the deadlines I set for myself.
Writer Rita Mae Brown says, “A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.” This is a feeling I can sympathize with. Deadlines can feel like a big, dark, looming threat for some reason, when in all reality they are supposed to simply be a way to help you achieve goals. Some scholars say that deadlines are meant to provide motivation, but often, as Brown says, they seem more negative than positive. If I am being honest, deadlines can fill me with a feeling of dread that is so powerful it’s almost paralyzing, and that does nothing to help me get stuff done.
Thankfully, though, some very smart people have put a lot of thought into the subject, and it’s helped me to reframe my thinking around meeting deadlines. Here’s what I’ve learned.
First, Why Meeting Deadlines Can Be So Hard
The good news is that there are actually understandable reasons as to why deadlines cause stress, and just having that knowledge can make them a lot easier to deal with. Psychology Today’s article “The Dark Side of Deadlines” by Kimberly Keys, PhD, explains that the ill affects of the suggestion of a deadline starts with the fact that the word has “dead” in it. So it makes good sense that anxiety is triggered. You start to think about death itself, as well as associations such as the death of your career, the death of your financial stability, and so on. As much as we are desperate to get the task done, the very real fear that comes with a looming deadline is what stops us from being able to do anything. And so the vicious cycle begins.
Tips for Meeting Deadlines With Ease
It’s simple, but true. Putting work off only makes things worse. Keys says that procrastinating before a deadline increases stress, and not only that, researchers have found that brain cells are killed off, creativity is lessened, and people can become dependent on coffee and other stimulants on order to try to get last-minute assignments done. She advises that taking care of yourself through diet and exercise is beneficial not only for your health, but also for the overall quality of your work. In addition, a work/life balance is extremely important. Allow yourself to forget about deadlines and enjoy your friends and family when you are not at work.
Meeting deadlines with ease each and every time starts with planning. Make sure you know exactly what you need to deliver to your client. If you are clear on everything that is expected, it’s easier to get started early and keep up the momentum. For example, if I have been given a large article to write I will often ask the person who has requested the work what, exactly, they would like to convey and what they hope to eventually accomplish.
Next, break down those deliverables into smaller tasks, and schedule specific times in the day to complete them. I’ll start with research, then build an outline, then begin writing in chunks, and not always in a linear order. If I’m not sure how to begin an article, that’s ok. I can start in the middle.
Given the fact that I use the Internet for a lot of my work, it’s very hard to avoid online distractions throughout the day. There are lots of apps like RescueTime.com, Eternity (Apple) and My Minutes (Apple) that can help you track when you are being most productive. I’ve found it’s been good to better understand my work habits and when I’m at my best, and I try to schedule my most difficult tasks at these times.
I’ve also learned to not assign deadlines for work that’s not critical. No matter how you look at it, a day of doing nothing but meeting deadlines is simply not fun. There has to be some work that just happens when it happens. What I do for other stuff is to create a “to-do” list where I am reminded of things that need to be done, but I don’t pressure myself to get them done before a certain time. This allows for flexibility and also variety in my day.
Emphasize Website Design of Calgary
Allow us at Emphasize Design to help you concentrate on your business and keep meeting deadlines for your clients. We provide website design services, as well as content creation services from editing and organizing to writing from scratch. We are also here to help with all of your social media marketing, analytics and email marketing needs. Learn more about our website design options, and get ready to give your business a fresh, new look online.