Deadlines tend to creep up on us like your Mother’s birthday. It’s 4:37 PM and you’re enjoying your weekend like you would any weekend until you get that dreaded text from Dad. You missed it again. I’m very disappointed.
Be it a career-defining project or just your regular nine-to-five grind, deadlines are a mainstay of corporate existence. Why? Well, usually they’re the only way to ensure something’s going to get done.
They don’t, however, need to be such soul-crushing situations. Adjustments to your workflow, upgrading your professional arsenal and countless other methods will help you achieve a state of being cooler than ice cold – especially when everyone else is running around like your office is on fire.
1. GIVE YOUR DESK A DECENT TIDY-UP
Folks, there’s a proven link between clutter and weight gain. That’s how big of an impact unorderly mess has. With that sentiment in mind, Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist suggests that less clutter will keep you focused on your project, giving you more freedom to meet that deadline.
Taking five to whip your workspace into shape is arguably the easiest way to get yourself prepared for a looming deadline.
2. ENFORCE A STANDING MEETING POLICY
Ever found yourself wondering “why are we doing this?” during a project meeting? Unnecessary WIPs can derail both your day and your grand plans of hitting a deadline too.
Stop people getting too comfortable (the precursor to the dreaded weekend plans rambling) by enforcing a strict ‘Standing Meetings Only’ policy. That way, Karen from finance’s legs will start cramping long before she can begin waffling on about yet another Cheese & Wine festival she’s attending.
3. BREAK PROJECTS INTO BITE-SIZED PIECES
We’ve all done it. Left the assignment to the night before or underestimated the time it will take to fill in that report (the age-old Planning Fallacy). Stop this habit dead in its tracks by breaking down the project into smaller, spaced out deliverables.
Resources like Asana or Trello are great tools that let you visualise your projects, and the achievable smaller segments that you’re now combatting. The beauty of these tools is the ability to assign tasks to your team, track feedback (ciao, lengthy email chains), and the uber-satisfying action of marking a project as ‘complete’.
4. INVEST IN PERFORMANCE-BOOSTING TECH
Do you need to drop thousands on hardware? Nope. Investing in something that’ll make your life easier, however, is just common sense.
A second monitor, for instance, can be a god-send when you’re racing against the clock. One screen can be used to display reference material while the other is dedicated to the task at hand.
Additionally, an ergonomically-designed, practical mouse like the MX Master 2S is another one of those common-sense purchases. It grants you the ability to move your cursor between multiple devices, drag and drop last-minute additions, and generally aid in shooting projects off faster than your manager can aggressively reprimand you via email. With low-energy Bluetooth technology and a brand-new precision tracker, you can take the MX Master 2S quite literally anywhere. Read more about it HERE.
5. ABANDON TACKLING TASKS IN A CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Writing the summary for a presentation you haven’t even started yet makes just as much sense as stripping down to your birthday suit in the middle of a shopping centre before repetitively screaming “HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY”. Train yourself to stop approaching projects in a chronological way and you’ll be all the better off for it.
6. UTILISE MUSIC AS A WEAPON OF MASS PRODUCTIVITY
A study by the University of Windsor revealed that listening to varying types of music can have differing effects on your productivity depending on your familiarity with the tunes, your mood and how engaging the banger is.
Drown out your surroundings with some tunes of your choice – if you get distracted by lyrics, try some ambient music (Brian Eno is a staple) or even white noise (try rainforests, oceans or even lawn mowing if that’s your jam).
7. PHYSICALLY CHANGE WHERE YOU’RE WORKING
Surfing the web in front of actual waves? That’s bloody living. Switch up mundane egg-shell white office walls and take a seat outside. Studies suggest that stepping out of the office can have a myriad of long-lasting health benefits. Lowering stress, fatigue, anxiety and improving your ability to focus and creativity all come with the outdoors. Who knew meeting a deadline only required a change of scenery?
Deadlines aren’t going anywhere and that’s a-okay. By adopting a few of these methods, you’ll be Antartica personified (yes, that goddamn chill). Oh, and for the cheap seats down the back who didn’t quite hear us the first time, check out the MX Master 2S HERE if you’re game on some, well, game-changing tech.