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How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines

How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines

Are you one of those people who is always rushing behind time to meet their deadlines and get their work done? Well, if such is the case with you then this article is meant exactly for you.

If you are always running late with your deadlines and out of time to get a job done, have you ever stopped to consider that perhaps something is wrong with your efficiency? Or maybe, it could be your time management skills which are putting you behind the clock and always making you late for your deadlines.

This article will get you some practical tips on how to work more efficiently.

Why Is It Important to Become More Efficient and Meet Deadlines on Time?

Being unproductive can counter satisfaction and life goals in the long run. Before you even realise it, you will find yourself struggling to attain basic happiness in life and you will find yourself engaged in a never ending web of pending jobs.

Hence, in order to remain competitive at your work place and be regarded as a valued human resource of your organization, it might be a good idea to pull up your socks and stop rushing to meet deadlines each time.

Here are some tips that will help you improve your game and become a more enthusiastic person in life, who manages to meet his deadlines and remain a productive person:

1. Identify and eliminate all unproductive jobs from your schedule

This could mean that you need to shut down your phone while you are working or that you need to give up your Netflix subscription or anything else.

Only you can define what is it that takes away your attention and time while you are working. It is in your good to identify them at the earliest and get rid of them.

Social media is one of the major areas which distracts many people. If that is the case with you, find ways to keep yourself off the sites and devote your time to work instead.

2. Start by setting up small deadlines for yourself

Meeting a bigger deadline with a huge work load might be tricky when you are trying to bring yourself on track. Instead, give yourself short term goals such as, ‘I am not going to use my phone for social media browsing for the next one hour’.

Stick to these goals and find yourself at a happier place when you meet them. Slowly, this will put you in a habit to meet your goals and prepare you to meet the bigger goals as well.

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3. Identify jobs that can be delegated

Delegate works to others and free up your time to attend important tasks that only you can perform:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

4. Upgrade your skill set

Upgrade your skill set to acquire knowledge and talent that will help you stand out from the rest of your fleet. This will help you perform your work with excellence and meet your targets on time.

5. Start by doing jobs that need to be done first

This will keep your work on track and avoid the last minute rush to get the important jobs done.

6. Prioritzse your work

Attend those jobs first which require your attention immediately and save the remaining jobs for later in the day. This will help you stay updated with your task list and attend to priority jobs first.

You will find that your schedule gradually eases up as you get your jobs done one by one. This will also free up your time for attending other jobs, which are not as important in nature.

9 Useful Tactics to Tackle Deadlines And Work Efficiently

No matter what their profession might be, every person struggles to meet deadlines at one or more times in their work careers. Deadlines tend to create an immense load of stress on those who are bound to meet them.

Moreover, missing a deadline is an adverse outcome that most productive people tend to avoid under all circumstances. Fortunately enough for most of the hard working people out there, here are some common and useful tactics that can help you tackle even the scariest and tackiest deadlines ever.

Let us take a look at these life saving tips, which have been divided in three phases, for the convenience of your understanding.

Before Starting a Project

Your aim to become more efficient and manage your deadlines should ideally emanate right from the time when you plan to start a project.

1. Set the scope of that project straight before you

Before beginning to work on a project, set the scope of that project straight before you. This will help you understand the context of work which you are required to undertake during the interim of the project.

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This involves anticipating the volume of work that requires completing before the arrival of a deadline. While doing so, also keep provision for some extra time so that in the event that you encounter something unexpected, you are able to solve the matter, without disturbing the timeline of your deadline.

2. Think twice before you commit to a new project

At the same time, it makes sense to account for your existing project works before you commit to another one. All in all, at this stage, you are required to do everything that ensures that you have ample time to meet the time committed by you.

During the Project

This is the stage when you are actually going to be doing everything to meet your deadlines and remain efficient at your job.

3. Focus on starting the job at the earliest

At this stage, your aim should be focus on starting the job at the earliest. Procrastination is a bane that can put you in a state of desperation as your deadline approaches. Waiting for the last minute to start a project can be largely counterproductive and put you behind on the clock.

4. Stay focus on tasks which are top on your priority list

The best strategy that you can adopt at this stage is to choose tasks which are top on your priority list. The most important and most difficult tasks must be done first.

Adopt time management strategies to stay in line with the clock. Staying focused on your work area goes a long way in making you a more productive person. Thus, it would be very helpful for you if you adopt a healthy lifestyle, eat right and take the perfect rest.

Also, keep your work area free of distractions, so that you are not pushed to divert your focus for something which is not a priority.

5. Track your progress

Time and again, you must take steps to track your progress and check what portion of your goals have been met in the process of completing your jobs. Give yourself short term goals, which are always easier to meet.

Alongside these short term goals, make it a habit to check your daily progress, which will give you an accurate idea about what you have accomplished and what remains to be accomplished.

If you are lagging behind on your goals, this will also help you manage your time better, to meet your goals in time.

6. Suspend activities that don’t contribute to your goals

Sometimes, it might be essential for you to suspend various activities which do not contribute to your goals and work. By this, you should directly understand the impact of activities such as social media, which tend to disturb your focus, attention and schedule.

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Hence, shunning out social media and like activities, would be a wise decision, until you get over a tight deadline.

If needed, you can also take the assistance of helpers to meet an impending job. Amidst this entire process, do not forget to keep a tab on your work and ensure that it is up to the mark.

Before turning it in, you should be sure about the correctness of the job. After all, there is no point in doing a job simply for the purpose of doing it, unless it does not bear the fruits that you expected.

In fact, it makes more sense to ask for some more time to get a job done, instead of submitting a half done job or something that is not up to the mark.

After the Project Is Done

Simply submitting a project work does not mean that your work is done. There are still some more things that you can do to improve your efficiency and become a more productive person in the long run.

7. Submit your project work before time to the client

You can try and submit your project work before time to the client, in order to make more time for other projects, which can then be completed on time as well.

Moreover, it gives you the added advantage of making an impression on the client. This way, you will be entrusted with further jobs, which is good for your economics.

8. Confirm receipt of the project

The next most important thing that you must do is to confirm receipt of the project. Even in these times of technological advancement, there are huge chances of the client blaming you for non-receipt of the project within the stipulated time. Hence, the one thing which you must absolutely do after submitting your project, is to confirm if it has been received by the client.

Also, make it a point to bill your work promptly so that you can receive your dues within a reasonable time, keeping things flowing for you.

9. Get client feedback

Amidst this entire scenario, it is absolutely important to get client feedback for the work submitted by you. This will help you analyse if the quality of work done by you is satisfactory. Once you receive a positive response to your work, you will feel more motivated to meet your work deadlines in time.

The Lazy Guy’s Guide to Stop Missing Deadlines

This being said, here is a quick guide for the lazy procrastinator in you, who is tired of missing deadlines, so that you can manage to meet some of them in time.

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1. Your focus should be on when it needs to be done, instead of focusing on what needs to be done.

The deadline of the project sometimes becomes the deciding factor in determining the quality of your output and your ability to complete it on time.

Deadlines are dreaded because people feel restricted because of them. Hence, one way to get over the dread is to negotiate and set them with your client at your own comfort.

2. Sometimes, some people miss deadlines because of you.

Sometimes, some people tend to miss deadlines, not because they are lazy or because they are unable to complete the job on time.

At times, the reason for missed deadlines is a lack of satisfaction with the quality of work performed by you. In this situation, you need to understand that aiming for perfection is a good quality but only as long as it does not hamper your deadlines.

The moment that begins to happen, it would be in your interest to shift your focus on meeting your deadlines instead of trying to be perfect.

3. Always try to work together with both, short term and long term deadlines.

The short term deadlines aim to keep you motivated and interested in your job whereas long term deadlines aim to build your overall target for achieving long term objectives.

4. Never try to overstep beyond the space of your room.

Engage yourself in work that equals only as much in quantity as you have the time to tackle with. Fill your plate with only as much work that you can handle.

5. Aim to settle down for fixed hours when working on your projects.

If you bring major variation in your working hours, then you are bound to give yourself excuses to work late or postpone a particular task for another time of the day.

Final Thoughts

Being late takes no time to turn into a psychological disorder and before you know it, it becomes a habit that you keep cultivating within you for an infinite time.

If this is the case with you, perhaps it is time to stop blaming time and start introspecting what is wrong with your schedule, so that you can become a more efficient person and begin meeting your deadlines.

With my practical tips above, you’ll quit the habit of rushing deadlines and start working efficiently.

Featured photo credit: A L L E F . V I N I C I U S Δ via unsplash.com

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Ankit Garg

Serial entrepreneur and working towards Early Retirement

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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