Whether we write for work or pleasure, deadlines are necessary in the game of Get It Done. Unfortunately, there is a stigma that comes with the dreaded D-word, and it often causes writers to drag their feet until they’re behind schedule.
Here are some tips to keep yourself on track so you can meet those deadlines with ease:
It’s no big deal. One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate is because their minds make monsters out of duties that really aren’t that bad. Stay positive and recognize the fact that the sooner you finish, the sooner you can move on.
Establish a half deadline. It’s Monday and your goal is to write six chapters of your book by Saturday. It’s tempting to put it off, but you know you’ll end up spending your entire Friday night pounding out pages. Break up the work into smaller pieces. Set out to write three chapters by Wednesday, and finish the rest by Saturday. Who knows? Maybe you’ll hit a productive stride and finish early!
Do your chores. Why is it that when we have work to do, it suddenly seems like the best time to rearrange the refrigerator? If you know you have a deadline approaching, get everything tidied up ahead of time. Not only will a tidy workspace help you focus, but you won’t be tempted to meticulously dust each knick-knack in your living room.
Keep a list of tasks and prioritize. This can work differently for different people, so make an honest assessment of your own work habits. For example, if you like to ease into things, do the simpler tasks first and use them to build momentum for the larger tasks on your list. If, on the other hand, you’re the kind of person who prefers to pull a Band-Aid off quickly, front-load your schedule with the hardest tasks—with the bigger time commitments out of the way, the easier tasks will feel like a breeze to complete.
There’s a reason Post-its were invented. The colorful ones are the most fun!
Allow yourself breaks. Don’t think you’re chained to your desk. Know that it’s okay to get up every once in a while and rest your eyes. It may feel like you’re wasting time, but it will actually help keep your productivity level up.
Give a hoot. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, the chances of you caring about your deadline are slim to none. Even if you have no choice in the matter, think about why your assignment is important. Eliminating the frivolity factor and recognizing that other people might be depending on you to get things done can lessen the urge to procrastinate.
Make sure not to bite off more than you can chew, and remember to do your best. Your best is different from day to day, but if you put your head and heart into a task, you’ll find that meeting deadlines is easier than it sounds!
Want help staying on track with your self-imposed deadlines? Want a reason to write more regularly? Writer’s Relief helps keep our writer clients on track with both their writing and submissions (plus, we help them increase their chances of publication too!). Learn more about how Writer’s Relief can help you get published.
QUESTION: Are you the kind of person who meets deadlines? Or do you wave at them as they pass by?
I am the WORST with deadlines! I always have all these great plans to stay on top of my work and all of a sudden it’s the day before the deadline and I have nada. These are some really helpful tips. I’ll try them out!
I find it easy to meet deadlines, but sometimes I’m such a slave driver with myself that it sucks the fun out of an assignment that was supposed to be fun. 🙁 Then I don’t want to visit the topic again for weeks.