How To Meet Deadlines

I just went one more round of revisions on the book. Oy vey! I had to hustle as I have a hundred papers to grade coming up. Since I’m the middle of them, I thought I’d share my best tips for meeting deadlines – even if they’re do as I say, not as I do!

  • Take the phone off the hook, turn off the TV, get off the internet. Don’t get distracted by something that could use doing like cleaning or gardening. If it’s not bleeding, leaking, or shooting sparks, it can wait.
  • Don’t eat junk food! Keep plenty of easy prep food on hand – sandwich fixings or cheese and crackers. If you’re one of those people who can eat anything, you won’t be if you aren’t careful around deadlines. Same holds true for liquids. The British Empire was built on tea, not soda.
  • Showering is good. No matter big or how busy, your project will be more successful if you take a break for a meal, a walk, personal hygiene, hugging your children. Unless someone’s having a baby or open-heart surgery, adults, however, may fall into the it can wait category.
  • Focus on one step at a time. A novel has to be revised one chapter at a time. A paper means doing the research 1st, writing a rough draft, getting it checked, and rewriting. If you can plan time for each step, all the better, but don’t let the whole overwhelm you.
  • There are shortcuts for most chores. I let the mail and clutter pile up in laundry baskets so I can still see the floor even if I haven’t vacuumed. You can mail order instead of shop, there are delivery services for groceries, children might like an extra afternoon class one day a week.

Ultimately, you have to make your own choices about what is important to you. And that’s really the key to meeting deadlines. If you want to be successful, with a book or in class or whatever, you have to put the time in. Just signing up or having an interest won’t get you to the end product. For that, you’re gotta sit down with that 2nd cup for that 2nd go around!

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