To meet deadlines you need to be well organised. It is essential that you plan ahead.
Above all never over commit yourself; always be realistic about what it is you have been asked to do. The ‘old chestnut’ – Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail – was never more appropriate!
When I’m given a deadline my first task is to break the project down into a series of tasks; I put a realistic estimate of how long each task in the process will take me and working back from my deadline I determine when I need to be taking that first step! Miss that – and you’re immediately swimming against the tide, so don’t waste any time getting the work schedule sorted out! Time lost at the beginning is a devil to make up later on.
It’s important to have an established routine and stick to it! When I’m writing I spend a minimum of five hours a day shut away, without distractions. Two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon and at least an hour in the evening.
In the waking hours outside of that schedule I switch off from the project totally. I may be walking or reading the newspaper, chatting to the wife over a meal, watching TV. I never stress about the project or wonder whether I should be writing, not relaxing. As long as I’ve hit my minimum five hours then I’m still on track to hit that deadline.
Because I’ve broken the project down to bite sized pieces at the outset, I now have a series of mini deadlines. As I complete each individual piece I check the ‘actual’ time taken against my ‘planned’ time; if I’m a little ahead of schedule I’ll ‘bank’ that time and plough on to the next stage.
When I was working with a management consultancy in the 1980s I got into the habit of writing a ‘to do list’ every day. Within each of your project’s stages there will be a series of tasks to perform. Write them down and if you plan to complete 5 items in a day then make sure you get the straightforward things done first. Tick each one off on your list as you complete it. If you have a tricky task to perform, leave it until last and then give it total concentration. If it’s a real ‘stinker’ and you can’t finish it until the next day at least you have achieved 80% of your target. If you get stuck into the tough one first there’s a danger that you’ll see the whole day drift by and your achievement % will be zero!
Provided you set realistic goals and keep to your day to day schedule you’ll be fine. Don’t get distracted! I shut myself away; no TV or music playing in the background; no mobile phone. When I’m halfway or perhaps three quarters of the way through a project I’ll check my ‘banked’ amounts and if I’ve got three or four hours ‘up my sleeve’, I’ll pack up early and treat myself. I may lounge in front of the TV and watch some sport.
If the wife is free I might suggest we go shopping (always a winner!).
I build a little flexibility into my project schedules; you have to, something unexpected can crop up, a family emergency just when you least expect it, but if you have given yourself that room to manoeuvre and you can steel yourself to leave any ‘banked’ time you’ve earned along the way until the whole project is completed then you can cope with most emergencies. There will be no more stress, no more missed deadlines and your sanity will be intact!
A collection of twelve short stories with an unexpected twist at the end. There are love stories, ghost stories and tales of revenge, all sprinkled with a touch of humour. In fact there's something for everyone, young or old. There are characters and situations you will readily recognise, but will you identify 'the sting in the tale' before you turn the final page?
Genre - Short Story Collection
Rating – PG
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