You have secured a job, you have secured a contract. Sweet! Now enjoy that euphoric moment as you will soon be shifting gears. But if you are well-equipped, and if you maintain your speed, you can run laps around your deadlines. You don’t have to be under huge pressure. Here are 6 tips on how to tackle dreaded deadlines:
1) First and foremost, care about the job. It might seem silly, but care about the deadline. Respect the deadline. As you might personally know, many people are very relaxed about deadlines. Why? Because time sometimes feels arbitrary. “It’s ages away; I’m sweet, bro!” Yet, you have to be very serious about meeting deadlines. Make them a priority.
2) Keep a clear line of communication with your client. Be sure that you and the client are on the same page. You should be in agreement with a specific deadline, including time of day. If the deadline is murky (“…yeah, mate; end of the week, mate!”), you will have trouble meeting it. If your client gives you a nonspecific deadline, you need to ask for a concrete one.
3) Break the job into pieces. Not literally into pieces, but into small tasks. Don't try to tackle an entire project. Tackle the project one task at a time. Again, you'll want to break it down into smaller steps, giving yourself a time estimate for each step. Each step should be small enough that it takes an hour or less, so it's not too intimidating. Then tick a box each time you finish. It will motivate you.
4) Take baby steps; focus on that first task. Now that you've broken the project down into smaller tasks, just focus on the first one. What do I have to do now? Don't think about the rest. Give the first task your full attention, and get going. Then focus on the next task. And before you know it, that task list will be dwindling down. Just breathe and focus on each task.
5) Don't overcommit. One of the biggest causes of missed deadlines is commiting to more than you can handle. You might want to impress your client with the workload, but remember: it’s all about quality, not quantity. Learn to say no if you cannot commit to finishing a project on time. But if for some reason you have overcommitted, stay up late and finish it. Remember, it’s your name, your brand, on the line. If you're up against a tight deadline, do whatever it takes to meet it. That means staying up late and working long hours if need be.
6) Negotiate and make a second deadline
. Damn…no matter what you do, it looks like you won’t be able to make that deadline. Tell your client ASAP! Communicate! Your client understands that things get in the way (whether it be unexpected events, procrastination, or the new season of Game of Thrones), so apologise and negotiate a second deadline. And no matter what…meet this deadline. Or suddenly you work phone line will be dead with silence. No one will ring. Ever.
So stay employed! And you can with these with these tips. By following them, you can hit skip on your Best of Queen ipod selection and go from Under Pressure to Don’t Stop Me Now. Because with these guidelines leading the way, the world won’t be able to stop you now. You’ll be having a good time. Like Freddie Mercury here.
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