Remember at college when you would pull an all-nighter before an important assignment was due. Fuelled by Red Bull you would work until the sun came up in order to get your paper finished on time.
Unfortunately, that just isn’t an option once you enter the world of work. There are no late night submission boxes, no libraries that you can stay in after hours and no other students there to help coax you along.
In the real world, you need to be focused, driven and organised if you want to succeed. Here are some great tips on how to stick to deadlines in your first grown-up job.
Break it down
When you’re given a huge chunk of work it’s easy to feel slightly overwhelmed. An easy way to overcome this is to break the task down into smaller portions. For example, if you’re writing a report you might break it into smaller jobs such as research, first draft, second draft, layout, proofing etc. It will seem much less daunting that way.
If you’ve been given a two-month deadline for a particular project that doesn’t mean that you have 7 weeks to rest up before you get started. Instead, use your list of tasks to allocate work to each week. Start at the deadline and work backwards to make sure that you get everything covered in time.
You’re a human being. That means that you need time to eat, drink, rest, exercise, socialise with friends and enjoy some self-care. Keep this in mind when you start to set yourself deadlines. You can’t work 15 hour days no matter how hard you try. You’ll be much more productive and creative in the long run if you allow yourself some time to unwind.
Put your deadlines in black and white
It’s easy to ignore a deadline that you set in your mind. It’s much harder to avoid a calendar invite or a mark in your diary. If you want to hit your deadlines then you need to have them written down. Be accountable, set real deadlines and stick to them.
Beware of distractions
Technology can be your biggest asset but also your number one distraction. Today we have music, tv, social media platforms and podcasts all at our fingertips. You need to make a clear distinction between whether you’re working or not. Close all non-work related tabs if you’re supposed to be working towards your deadlines. You need to set some boundaries if you want to succeed.