Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to get things done

When it comes to finishing projects before the deadline, I am a pro.  While this annoys the heck out of my roommate, I prefer to think of this as a notable skill.  As a favor to the procrastinators and the overwhelmed, I've decided to share my tricks, so that you too can sleep the night before the big deadline.

Read the directions before you start.  
There's nothing worse than getting halfway through a project, and then realizing that you're missing something vital.  An easy way to bypass that is to read the directions all the way through.  If you're really an overachiever you could even take notes on the directions!  Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you.

Visualize the process.
After the preliminary read through of the directions, go back and break the project in to chunks.  Take note of what resources will be needed to complete each part, and check that you have everything you need.  Walk though each step in your head so that you have a clear idea of what you're doing, and a general idea of how long everything will take.

Put it in the calendar!
Give yourself a start date, a draft date, and a due date; make sure that these are all visible!  Reminders won't help if you don't check them.  In addition, write down rough dates for each chunk from the last step to be due, and stick to those checkpoints!  Make sure to add in some wiggle room, too, in case there's a problem.  For school projects, I usually set my draft due date at a week before the project is due, so that while everyone else is scrambling, I'm casually spellchecking and revising.

Know your optimal hours.
I'm a morning person; I do my best work in between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.  My roommate works best in between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.  Know when you focus best, and use that knowledge to your advantage.  If you don't know, then experiment during the first steps, not the week before the project is due!

Take breaks if you need to. 
You know, for sleep and food and stuff.

Find space, and keep it sacred.  
Find somewhere distraction-free to work.  Don't go on tumblr while in that space.  Don't even think about it.  Give yourself specific zones;  tumble and read blogs from the couch, but leave your desk for Serious Business.  Trick your mind in to respecting these boundaries.

Reward yourself.
Watch an episode of a show you love after each chunk.  Eat a cookie once it's all done.  Find something you want, and use it to motivate yourself!

Don't stop once you're in the zone.
You're on a roll, words are pouring out of you, the stitches are flying; don't stop!  A break in concentration can be fatal.  Power through to a checkpoint, or finish the project if you can!  Then eat two cookies.

Revel in the good night's sleep that your classmates/coworkers/friend's aren't getting.  

1 comment:

  1. These are great! I only wish I had them while I was still at school ;)