The coffee you made an hour ago has gone cold, your playlist is on its second loop, and you’re 45 minutes away from your deadline.
You’re nowhere near done. You begin to ponder what has got you in this slump in the first place.
There are people who dislike deadlines (myself included). You have to keep track of your tasks and your pace just to meet the deadline given to you. Because if not, instead of having a weekend getaway at the beach, you have to stay home and burn the midnight oil.
Love them or hate them, deadlines will always be part of a worker’s life.
There are many ways you can triumph over your deadlines. We’re giving you these three tips:
1. Schedule, schedule, schedule
Efficient time management is key to being productive. Following a schedule allows you to accomplish more. You will also have a clearer view of what tasks require more time than the others, and which ones you should prioritize. Plus, it can prevent you from procrastinating.
Paul Minors wrote in his blog The Importance Of Scheduling: “By having your schedule at the top of your mind, your calendar acts as a filter against distractions. When you know that you’ve a set amount of scheduled time to do something, it allows you to stay focused so you can get everything done within a specific time.”
2. Find Motivation
Do you have a personal goal you wish to accomplish once you've completed an important project on time? Are you going to grant your son's wish for his birthday gift or maybe buy that engagement ring you've been checking out? Or is it earning that 5-star Freelancer rating you're bound to receive after a hard day's work?
In a blog about motivation, Kristina Dems discussed the two types of motivations: intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. The former focuses on intangible rewards such as self-fulfillment, employer recognition, and praise from colleagues, while the latter is all about physical rewards such as salaries and bonuses.
“Motivation increases productivity. It is but critical to upkeep consistency in the provision of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards for consistent performance,” concluded Dems. Envisioning what you get in return for your efforts should keep you motivated all throughout the project. Seizing deadlines won’t be a bothersome task if that you’ve got your eyes on the prize.
3. Apply the 80-20 Principle
One important principle freelancers must learn is the 80-20 principle, which states that 20% of your tasks account for 80% of the project. By identifying which tasks account for 80% of the project, you can get to it immediately. Doing so can drastically lessen the time you spend on projects, thus allowing you to do more.
“When evaluating your mid-year progress on your goals, focus on the few goals or activities that are most critical to your development or success. Not all duties and goals are created equal,” said John Reh in his article Understanding Pareto's Principle - The 80-20 Rule.
Take these three tips with you to boost your productivity and make sure you beat all of your deadlines. Now go and find new projects to bid on!