How A Deadline Helps You To Be More Productive

Be more productive with a deadline
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Be more productive by setting yourself a deadline and working on the task at hand.

Introduction

You know that feeling back in school, when you had to do a presentation for class but you NEVER felt like doing it. You had 3 weeks, so why start on day one? 

You were always able to just get it done on the last day – it might not be perfect but you still get a B or C+.

I already told you about Parkinson’s law, so this won’t come as a surprise but settings yourself a deadline will give you some pressure to do the task at hand – and finish it quicker than you might have thought.

Pick a reasonable timeline for every chunk of work

It won’t help you setting a deadline which puts so much pressure on you that you cannot breathe. The deadline should be hard but not too hard.

First of all, split your project or task in multiple sub-tasks. Once you’ve done that you can allocate time to each – Step 1 should be finished in 3 days step 2 should be finished 2 days later and so on. 

It should be a deadline which applies some pressure but gives you room to think clearly.

Use external tools if needed

There are multiple ways in doing this as efficiently as possible – some like the Pomodoro technique, some prefer time boxing. I will have an article up on these two techniques as well in the future – stay tuned.

I tried all of them – I didn’t manage to get it to work. But I recently purchased a simple timer which I can set to 60 minutes and it ticks down. I set it up in front of me and start working – this is my deadline for the task at hand. I really have to focus to do it, because 60 minutes is all I’ve got until I take a small break and go again (it kinda is like the Pomodoro technique).

Sometimes I set the timer for 3x60minutes in a row (with a small break), sometimes just for 30 minutes. It depends on the task, but having even 30 minutes in front of me ticking down applies some time pressure on me so that I don’t get distracted and work at the task. 

I do learn about the time I need for tasks as well. Whenever I see that 30 minutes isn’t enough I set it for 15 more. Next time when I do a similar task I already know that 30minutes isn’t realistic and I need 45. This helps you get a better feeling for your productivity.

Do. The. Work.

All the tips and tools don’t help you if you don’t sit down and do the work. Put away all the distractions. Turn on focus music or silence everything. Phone in airplane mode, email shut down. 

When you sit down with your timer, this hour is just for you and your work. Once you silenced the world around you, you dive in. After the hour you are allowed to get some distraction – try to keep them electronic free. You don’t need Facebook updates – move your body a bit, stretch, drink water then sit down and face the work again.

Conclusion

I really want you to get your work done – no fancy stuff, just working hard on a project. If this tip helps at least one of you, I am happy.

I hope you could learn something from this post and it made your life a little bit simpler – let me know! You can find more productivity-related posts on the right-hand side.

As always, I would be happy to hear some feedback on this post.

-Julian

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