When projects first start you often think you have all the time you need to do it well, make it perfect, and get all of your other work done. Then, as the end of a project nears, you’re often left staring down the barrel of a massive amount of work you still need to complete before the encroaching deadline hits. Never fear! If you do those 4 things you should be able to finish any project before it’s due.
1. Make To-Do Lists Like a Rocket Scientist: Want to know the secret to a rocket scientist’s success? It’s all in the massive amounts of step-by-step to-do lists they create. You may think you have enough to-do lists already but you would be wrong. Write down individual to do-lists for each aspect of a project. Then, break those to-do lists down into small, step-by-step instructions. When you organize like this it’s easier to power through what you need to get done and you can feel comfortable knowing you won’t be skipping a step because you’re rushed!
2. Pace Yourself: How many months, weeks, days, hours, or minutes away is your deadline? Mark it on your calendar and then work backwards to avoid having too much work on your plate and not enough time to complete it. When you pace out a project, even if you’re doing it late in the game, it’s easier to visualize how much you need to get done in the current moment and it’s amazing how easily this will light the motivational flame underneath you.
3. Breaks are Your New Best Friend: This may seem counterintuitive if you’re already in that deadline crunch but, trust me, breaks are your new best friend if you want to finish on time. Although the modern workday is often 8 or more hours long, most humans don’t actually function the same way when they’re working for that long of a period of time. In fact, most humans thrive taking a ten minute break every fifty minutes or at least one fifteen-minute break every two hours. Pick your poison and step away from the project so you can return to it with a clear head, renewed focus, and the ability to work smarter.
4. Find A Nudge Near the End: Public accountability does amazing things when it comes to finishing a project on time. Sure, having a boss staring at the clock waiting for your project to be turned in on time can be motivating but only if you truly value their opinions. And, it’s always better to have more than one person giving you the nudge to finish when you’re near the end and tackling the last ten percent of a project (which is notoriously the most difficult part to get through in most cases). Have a valued colleague send you inspiring emails that say “keep going!” or “get it done, you can do it!” Have your family members remind you on the way out of the door each morning that they know your deadline is coming up. Have a friend text you 30 minutes before the end of your workday each day before the deadline hits to ask “are you set up to finish on time?” This kind of accountability does wonders for people who are having a difficult time pushing through the end of a project.
Never fear missing a deadline again! With these 4 helpful tips the end of a project is less intimidating than it ever has been and you’re set up to succeed. Push through and get ready to impress your boss with how easily you managed to handle the end of this project.