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  • Karolina

My System for Dealing with Deadlines

I've always been struggling to meet deadlines. To be completely honest, I'm the Master of Procrastination. If there would be any Procrastination Olympics, I'd win them easily.

You see - at least to me - distractions are often helpful in making insightful connections between different topics. However, the line between work and fun time can get blurred sometimes.

By trial and error, I've learned how to deal with my own procrastination. Here are 4 unconventional ways I came up with over the years.

1. Prepare first

Before you start working, make a list of your upcoming tasks - it will help you prepare mentally to get them actually done. Do it in the morning or evening before - you shouldn't be thinking about your tasks when you're about to sleep. Respect your personal life and physical health, too.

Make sure that you work in a quiet place, and cut down on any possible distractions. The environment really matters.

Leave some time for creativity, though. Make creativity a part of your daily routine to make it easier to go into "creative mode" even when you're running out of time.

Also, you shouldn't rule out thinking about your assignment before going to bed or getting ready for the day.

2. Hide your phone

I often find myself scrolling through social media during work... Which is quite understandable since I actually work in marketing. However, sometimes it just takes too much time out of my day. This is why I try to hide my phone during working hours.

No access to social media, no problem!

Hiding my phone became part of my routine when I realized that simply looking at the screen could put me behind schedule. It's easy to get caught up in a text message, Discord or Slack and forget to respond within five, ten, or fifteen minutes.

Put your phone in a drawer or another room when you know you have an important deadline to meet.

3. Schedule your free time during the day

At the end of the day, it's a good idea to reward yourself with something you want to do after work. Schedule fun time throughout the day, in addition to meals, snacks, and breaks for fresh air.

This way, you won't dream of continuing your extracurricular activities when you're working. You'll probably have to work longer hours, but that's a trade-off for the instant gratification of me-time incorporated into your work.

If you don't have any urgent tasks, try this tip to help you meet deadlines. Knowing that sometimes you have that freedom can motivate you in times of crisis.

4. Work on a laptop at 50% (without access to charger)

Okay... this one is actually a game-changer. If you have a deadline, dive into this productivity hack - it works on me every time!

Go to a coffee shop with your laptop charged at 50% only, and DO NOT bring a charger with you. When a client or boss is waiting for your work and your battery percentage is steadily declining, you can't ignore deadlines.

When I see my battery run low, I suddenly become an ultra-productive robot (ok, I'm joking here, but you get the point). I just want to get the work done before my laptop goes dead.

You can also use this technique in your home or office. I usually write in my living room and, when the most important work is done, I charge my laptop.

5. Find the system that works for you

When it comes to planning your day, week or even a whole month, the most important thing is to have a system that actually works. I know many people who do bullet journaling, use a regular paper calendar or apps.

Personally, I use 3 apps for planning (and keeping myself on check): Notion, Jira, and ToDoIst.

In Notion, I write down detailed notes on projects I want to develop. Basically, I use it as my "second brain".

For example, when I find an interesting article and want to read it once again later (or just don't have the time currently to dive into it), I'll put the link in my Notion using Chrome extension and come back to it in my free time.

I re-vist "My Links" page every two-to-three days to make sure it's not full of trash.

In Jira, I plan out my sprints. I've created a few projects because I simply prefer my personal life and work distinguished from one another. The funny thing is, I really used to hate Jira - now I can't imagine my life without it!

ToDoIst, in my case, is a place where I set daily priorities. Every monday, I'll go through my Notion and Jira and decide which tasks are the most important and schedule them into ToDoIst. This way I can focus on the most important stuff first in the morning.

And this is pretty much everything. I still work on improving my system, but it really works for me quite well.

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