Deadlines. As helpful as they are, it’s hard to love them. Especially when you’re consistently sprinting to submit your work on time no matter the assignment.
Are deadlines making it difficult for you to produce your best work? Do you love writing, but hate feeling pressured with time constraints?
It’s Saturday again. Solutions have arrived.
Solution 1: Break Up the Work
The mistake you may be making here is glancing at a large project and, unintentionally, putting it off till later. Everyone gets overwhelmed looking at big pieces of work and trying to figure out when and how to fit them into some sort of schedule.
The day you receive an assignment—even if it’s from yourself—break it up into smaller, more manageable portions. Let’s say you’re editing a short story, 10,000 words (just throwing out a number). Your revision deadline is 10 days from now. Make it a goal to edit 1,000 words every day from now until the deadline. At least try. That way, if you do fall a little behind, at least you won’t have all 10,000 words to edit on “D Day.”
Solution 2: Set Deadlines Earlier Than the Actual Due Date
This works exceptionally well in theory—professors recommend it to their students all the time (or was it just us?). It’s hard to follow through with, though. Unless you trick your brain into falling for it.
We’ll stick with our 10-day deadline. You have a 1,500-word article due to your section editor in 10 days—or do you? Write down an earlier deadline—seven days from now—don’t even write down the actual date unless your editor can’t accept early submissions. In that case, imprint your “new” deadline into your brain, save your article as an email draft and set a reminder to send it on the real due date.
Solution 3: Make Sure You’re Not Overworking Yourself
Sometimes you fall into a nonstop productive streak. Not worth complaining about, right? This can be dangerous, though. You’re all of a sudden tempted to take on more work without evaluating the consequences. Before you know it, deadlines are sneaking up on you left and right. You’re still meeting them—but just barely. Every time.
Take a few steps back and look more closely at your workload. If you’re having trouble managing your deadlines, you might just have too many of them to handle. You’re not Super Freelancer (though we all wish we could be, admit it). It’s okay to ease off your commitments a little. Constantly rushing to finish your work on time isn’t worth the increase in stress and decline in content quality.
There will always be deadlines. Without them, we’d have a much harder time motivating ourselves to get things done. You can meet them without having to rush to the finish line.
Do you have a “writer problem” that you can’t seem to find a solution to? Leave a comment or tweet @MegDowell with the hashtag #NRSaturdaySolutions and we might help you solve your problem in next week’s post!
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.