In the world of funding, deadlines are one of the biggest drivers of how we spend our time and effort. And yes, deadlines are important for winning grants and other forms of funding to make your business grow, but they are also important for managing your own time, and keeping things organized. While they can be stressful, if managed correctly, they can actually make your life a lot easier. Here are some of the best physical and mental practices for preparing for a deadline:
- have a clean space. If your space is cluttered, your mind may be cluttered as well. Keep all of your items in order, especially your documents. Nothing adds to the stress of a looming deadline like searching frantically for important paperwork, only to find you’ve been using it as a coaster for your coffee mug by accident. Avoid the stress, and use whatever organization system works best for you.
- Complete other outstanding tasks that may be distracting. This is not to say should procrastinate by doing everything else on your list before the most important task at hand, but if there are some small, simple tasks that have been distracting you, it may be best to get them out of the way and dedicate more of your headspace to your deadline.
- Keep to do lists. If you want to be really organized, put it in an excel spreadsheet and print it out. It may help to physically see a list of what you need to do in front of you, instead of hiding it away in a document on your computer (just don’t let it add any more clutter to your desk).
- Care about your deadline. Your mental state is arguably more important for meeting an important deadline than any physical action you can do. Keep the deadline at the top of your priorities, and do not be lax about the dates.
- Be realistic and honest with yourself about how much time tasks will take. If you know you are a slow writer, or spend a lot of time editing and revising, leave yourself the extra time. It is good to be thorough, just leave a cushion so you’re not panicking at the last minute to complete those final edits.
- Break the deadline down into smaller tasks, and give yourself increment deadlines. It may even help to create start and end dates for each task. Big deadlines can seem much less intimidating if they are separated into smaller chunks. Write out a to-do list or schedule based on the smaller deadlines, and keep it where you can see it.
Deadlines may be scary, but with the right preparation, they are always manageable. As long as you plan, stay organized, and take care of your mental habits just as much as your physical habits, you’ll have no problem meeting your next important deadline.
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