No matter what your vocation or avocation may be, there are always deadlines that you have to meet if you are to succeed. As a writer juggling several projects at the same time, I have daily, weekly and monthly deadlines that I have to meet if I am to remain in business as a professional freelance writer for hire. Some of those deadlines are imposed on me by my clients and by the publications that I write for, but most of the deadlines are self-imposed deadlines that I set so I am sure to meet the deadlines set on me by those who pay my bills. Over the years, I have developed many tricks that have helped me meet my deadlines and I want to share five of the best with you here.
Procrastination is one of the deadly sins when it comes to meeting your deadline in a timely manner. Do not be like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind and say, "But Tomorrow is Another Day." for those of us who depend on meeting our deadlines on time to pay our bills, tomorrow, more often than not, comes too late.
When I first started writing I often put off the actual writing to the last minute. If the rough draft, to one of my articles-say an article on how to tune up a V8 engine-was due on Friday, I often waited to that Thursday to pound out the draft. I always managed to pull it off, but I always spent my whole day Thursday doing it. Then an old pro told me about setting a halfway goal check point. If it was Monday and I had 5,000 words due on Friday, my halfway goal was to have 2,500 words written by Wednesday. Today, I set halfway goals for all my deadlines without even thinking about it.
Have you ever noticed how many chores that you remember that you have to do as soon as you set down to write or do whatever you do to meet your deadlines? That use to happen to me all the time. Now I make a list of all my daily chores, assign a time to do them, and check them off as I complete them. I make sure that nothing will interrupt me once I sit myself down at the keyboard to work.
I touched on making check list in the last section. I am a great list maker and I prioritize every item on those lists as things that I need to do today, things that would be nice to get done today, and things that have no deadline on needing to be done. Prioritizing my lists lets me know what is most important and I do those things first, working my way down to the things with no specific deadline.
We all work to earn money to pay our bills and to have a little left over that we can spend on doing the things we enjoy doing. I suppose it is safe to say that we can never earn too much money. At the same time we can safely say that one never wants to take on so much work that one becomes a slave to his or her work. You do not want to allow yourself to become chained to your desk. Take a breather every now and then. You will be much more productive when you come back to your desk after your break.
You can meet your deadlines and still enjoy what you do if you follow these steps. The five steps that I have listed here are not set in stone; they are what works best for me. find out what works best for you, and then stick with that plan.
select one here...