Working effectively is so important when you have tight deadlines to meet, but it’s not always as easy as just getting things done. Sometimes, you need a little help to avoid crumbling under pressure and submitting things late. Don’t fret, though – there’s still time to get there! Make a start by enhancing your performance under pressure with these five tips:
1. An Environment for Success
It is so important that you have a work environment that actively supports you being focused, productive, and effective. That could be a stunning home office with ergonomic furniture, a motivating soundscape, a great colour scheme, and no distractions from family.
You may also benefit from using virtual offices that provide access to meeting rooms and collaborative online spaces. Other popular options include coffee shops and coworking spaces, where the bustling environment may be just right to get you in the zone. Find where works for you and get there when deadlines are looming.
2. Try a Work and Break System
In school, and even in college, there’s usually someone telling you what you need to do at any given moment. So when you step out on your own, it can be hard to manage work and break times. If this doesn’t lead to procrastination, it may see you working so hard you burn out quickly and end up struggling to finish your projects.
Instead of risking either of these unfavorable outcomes, create your own schedule. Try working until a certain time and then make yourself have a break. If you need a little more guidance, utilise the Pomodoro Technique (there are lots of free apps), which alternates short bursts of activity with lots of small breaks.
3. Do the Hardest Task First
Over 85% of workers procrastinate for at least an hour a day. It’s a common problem that often prevents the most important tasks of the day from getting done.
We’re more likely to go for easy tasks when we first sit down at our desks, leaving the hardest jobs until last (when we likely have the least energy to deal with them). To improve your workday, turn this around and tackle those challenging jobs as a priority. You’ll find your productivity and sense of achievement will both improve quickly.
4. Place Strict Restrictions on Weaknesses
Procrastination is a common issue, but everybody has a unique weak point that sucks away their time. For many of us, this ‘danger zone’ is social media, which we engage with for an average of 147 minutes a day.
If this is you, it’s essential to establish barriers to protect yourself from getting sucked into the endless scroll while your work remains unfinished. Block access to your problem sites, allow yourself only five minutes per hour for a quick scroll, or leave your phone in another room – whatever works for you.
5. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Scheduling is what will prevent you from getting a bottleneck of work at deadline time. Spread your work across the month, ensuring different projects have different deadlines. If you don’t have deadline flexibility, commit a certain amount of time to each project every day so that you’re on target to complete them by deadline.
Include a way to tick off smaller milestones and achievements so you have a visual of your progress. This strategy should help you feel more in control, avoiding that sense of panic and overwhelm that can otherwise rob you of the ability to get work done.
You’re Ready to Meet Your Deadlines!
With the right self-imposed boundaries and habits, you’re going to be efficient, productive, and successful at meeting those all important deadlines, month after month.