Wednesday, March 4, 2015
10 Tips on How to Survive and Meet a Deadline
In the midst of four important deadlines I realized that I use some pretty successful strategies to meet and survive pressing deadlines.
So here, in the middle of the chaos of aching neck muscles, sore back, numb backside, tired eyes, and messy house, I pause to share with you what gets me through to the end. I hope these tips help you as much as they help me.
1. Chunk it. When feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, break the assignment into manageable parts. Like "tonight I will complete the first week of activities" (I write curriculum). You could do one chapter, one topic, one idea, one unit, one scene - just make it a portion of your total work. If you are really pressed, divide sections of work according to how many days you have before the deadline. Do the required amount each day.
2. Spa water. I feel pampered when I add cucumber slices to my water bottle. Lemon, lime, and orange give the same effect. This strategy is two-fold. You drink a lot of water, which is healthy and keeps your mental wheels turning. You drink a lot of water and you have to get out of the chair to visit the restroom. Movement reboots the brain.
3. Say no. This is usually obvious, but I really have a hard time saying no. Especially when it's something I want to do or someone I want to help. I know myself. It's hard, but sometimes the word NO is the most important word you can use. No. There. I feel better. No more added responsibilities while working on this project.
4. Movement breaks. Walk one block, half a mile, three loops, whatever it takes. Put on the crazy music and work up a quick sweat. Stretch, twist, jump, swing around. Yoga could help also, though the last time I did it I severely injured my back (uh, beginner here) and was out of commission for several days' worth of movement. That being said, choose movements your body is used to. Until the deadline is fulfilled. Then try a new activity.
5. Chocolate. Yes. Lots. Of. Chocolate. In a variety of forms. No substitutes.
6. Ask for help. I bet there is someone who would love for you to ask them for help. You help them all the time, right? Return the favor. Let them pick up the kids at school, bring over pizza, throw dishes in the dishwasher, or start a load of laundry. Now is the perfect time for your kids to go on a play date. Somewhere. Anywhere. Not at your house. Nana and Papa would love a sleepover!
7. Reward yourself. Make a coffee date with a special friend for after the deadline. Book a weekend retreat. Promise you will buy that book you've been wanting or a new pair of running shoes. Treat yourself after you meet your deadline.
8. Relax your standards. Who cares if the house is dusty, the fridge is close to empty, and you are wearing clothes for the third time in a row? Everything will eventually get put back to order. Breathe.
9. Take a break. If you find yourself thinking and writing in circles (and that is not the assignment), stop and do something totally unrelated to writing and your project. Watch a movie. Call a friend. Go get ice cream (chocolate, see number 5). Break your brain rut by thinking of something else.
10. Pray. Really, this should be number one. From personal experience, I can say that without prayer, nothing comes together the way it should. Even then I've had to keep praying and sweat things out until the very last minute. God always comes through. He provided the opportunities for a deadline in the first place. He will keep you at it and help you make that date. Try it.
Find any you like? Let me know how they work for you.
Back to the deadlines.
Angie Quantrell works best when she has a deadline. Otherwise, the garden needs weeding, brownies must be baked, rubber stamps need exercise, and that stack of unread books magnetically sucks her in.