Deadlines are funny things. For some people they bring on night sweats and days of increasing stress. Others thrive on the challenge of getting everything done perfectly on time.
No matter what camp you place yourself in, deadlines are a fact of life. Whether you’re handing in an essay, filing an important report or simply meeting everyday working tasks, deadlines loom for everybody.
So how to do cope? By having a plan of action of course. When a deadline lands on your desk, make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with right from the start. It may be very tempting to hide it under bits of miscellaneous paper or file it away under ‘important’ but action now will save you lots of unnecessary work later.
Figure out what exactly is being asked and take a note of the date and time it has to be finished by. This should give you a clear indication of how long you will have to to spend on the project each day or each week to get things done. It’s a great idea to give yourself a few days extra just in case time runs away with you between now and the deadline. A few hours of grace could make the difference between a bad project which just happened to be handed in on time and a well-written one.
It goes without saying that this advice is good common sense. However, we’ve all had moments where pulling an all-nighter and placing our nose to the grindstone has been the only choice available.
If this happens, DO NOT Panic.
Figure out the main points you need to make or prove and concentrate on building up a strong argument based on research you know to be sound. Don’t include anything on a whim as it won’t stand up to scrutiny.
If you can, get someone to read over your work and give you feedback. Working for long stretches can sometimes blind you to the most obvious points. A fresh pair of eyes should give you more ideas and discussion points. If nothing else, they could pick up on spelling mistakes you are too tired to see.
Finally, try to finish on a strong point – repeating your arguments and perhaps suggesting further areas to investigate on an individual basis or discuss within your team.
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