How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

Are you one of those people that find it extremely hard, or even impossible to stay on schedule? It seems that no matter how hard you try and no matter how many pretty planners you buy and detailed lists you make, you’re always ending up behind at the end of the day. It’s an impossible problem, because it feels like you’re just missing a punctuality gene that everyone else has. Why can’t you just finish on time?

Well, the problem might not be your DNA makeup or your personality (“I’m just not a productive person,”) but rather it could be the way you’re building your schedules. Are you adding in buffer times between each task in case a project spills over, or are you trying to squeeze in bigger tasks into smaller slots? Are you penciling in your play time just as often as your work time to keep everything balanced?Or maybe you’re just not being cognizant enough of the lists you have created. Are you keeping track of what you still have to do, or do you just use your schedule as a numbered list you blindly follow, without looking at deadlines? See — so many factors! But don’t worry, we can crack this code together. Here are seven tips on how to stay on schedule, once and for all.

1. Give What You’re Doing Your Undivided Attention

Do you sneak onto Facebook while you’re in the middle of a project? Or do you give yourself a little Pinterest break during a busy day to “give your brain a rest.” Nah, girl, none of that. A sure fire way to keep yourself neatly on schedule is to give each of your scheduled tasks your undivided attention. Craig Jarrow, author of Time Management Ninja, explained, “One of the keys to keeping a balanced schedule is to actively focus on what you are doing at any given point in time. Remember, you scheduled items into your calendar so everything wouldn’t happen at the same time!”

Does that sound a little too rigid to you? Well, it doesn’t have to be. You know best how you stay productive, so if you need a coffee break, an Instagram pause, or even an hour long veg-out with Netflix, put that into the schedule. That way everything keeps cruising along.

2. Create Realistic Deadlines

Instead of taking a handful of tasks and jimmying them all into an eight hour workday, come up with realistic deadlines. If answering emails takes longer than an hour, allow yourself to schedule a bigger time slot to make sure you stay on track. Even if something takes longer than you feel it should, that doesn’t mean it’s wasted time — it’s just you being honest on how you work.

According to lifestyle writer Scott Young at self development site Pick the Brain, “If you need to set up a new work routine, I prefer the top-down approach. The top-down approach focuses you on deciding what work needs to be done, and by what deadlines. Once you know the time limit for the work you need to do, this automatically creates the pressure to come up with a productive schedule.” Stack tasks on your schedule according to their realistic deadlines, rather than breaking things into uniform time slots.

3. Train Yourself To Avoid Distractions

Letting your mind wander is a habit, and just with anything you’re disciplined with, you can force yourself to break the habit with some training.

Lifestyle writer Nadia Goodman at Entrepreneur explained, “Practice concentration by turning off all distractions and committing your attention to a single task. Start small, maybe five minutes per day, and work up to larger chunks of time. If you find your mind wandering, just return to the task at hand.” If you find yourself itching to check Instagram or take a quick chocolate break, just tell yourself no and keep working. Exercise that productivity muscle!

4. Give Your Schedule Regular Glances

A great way to keep yourself focused on what still needs to be done is to do a constant check-in with your schedule. That way you won’t be sidelined by a chunk of time that needs deep concentration and energy, and you’ll be able to ration out your concentration correctly throughout the day.

Jarrow advised, “Get in the habit of checking your schedule for not only what is coming up in the next hour, but what is coming up in the next several hours.” We usually begin to procrastinate or dabble with distractions when we begin to feel burnt out, but when you know how the whole day is supposed to look, you can psych yourself up accordingly to keep yourself running.

5. Always Add Cushion Time Between Each Task

Sometimes things take longer to finish than expected — whether it’s because a task turned out particularly tricky, you fell into a slump, or dipped out on a quick coffee break. In order to make sure those unforeseen moments don’t throw a wrench into your workflow, always add in time-cushions of 10 to 15 minutes between each task so you’re giving yourself some wiggle room.

As Rebekah Epstein, publicist and contributor to Entrepreneur admitted, “I become anxious when meetings run late, conference calls go over the budgeted time or projects take longer than anticipated. The reality is this type of thing happens on a daily basis, and you can’t get too stressed out about it.” With those cushions in between, you won’t ever have to be stressed out about it.

6. For The Hard Tasks, Schedule Them Into Off-Hours

When you really need to lock yourself down and concentrate, try scheduling those tasks during off-hours where you won’t run into a lot of distractions.

Epstein wrote, “Pick one of these times, when other people aren’t working, to focus on projects that require a lot of concentration. Every morning from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. is my uninterrupted time to write articles, answer emails, and work on research projects.” If you know that you have a tricky task coming up the next day that’ll need your undivided attention try to pencil it in during an off-hour that you’ll feel your most productive. Though it’s not typical, you’ll get more done that way.

7. Schedule Work And Play In The Same Spot To Keep Yourself Balanced

Ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels? You might have all your work planned and scheduled to a tee, but when a friend comes ringing to grab a cup of coffee or to grab a burger after work, your pretty schedule can take a hit. How do you avoid that skid? Simple: Schedule work and play in one place, so you can see how much time and room you have for each.

Epstein explained, “When I first began my public relations work, I often canceled plans with friends because projects would take longer than I expected. I didn’t feel I was getting anything done. Then I started scheduling both my professional and personal commitments in one place and assigning equal importance to both. This way I can really see how much time I have for each.”

If you keep all your tasks (work and play) in one spot, keep an eye on deadlines and projects multiple times a day, and allow yourself some buffer time to slack and relax, you should see a complete difference on how you stay on track!

If you’re anything like me, then you’re a busy person. A lot of teenagers have busy schedules, between sports, clubs, and classes. It can be hard to make time for yourself, or even to find time to get everything done. It can get overwhelming and stressful to manage all of these things at once, so here’s ten tips on how to manage a busy schedule.

Tip One: Use a Calendar

Tip number one is to use a calendar. You may already have one, or if you’re like me, then you have three of them (one on my wall, one to carry around, and one on my phone). However, you really don’t need three of them. The calendar on your phone is one of the best ways to use a calendar, because it’s small, digital, and you always have it with you. You can even share calendars with your friends or family members. My family shares our calendars, so we can all know each others schedules. Digital calendars are also convenient, because unlike a paper calendar, you don’t have to write things down or erase things or move things when plans change. You can simply type it into your phone. You can set notifications at certain times before events too.

Tip Two: Don’t Overcommit

Tip two is not overcommit yourself. It seems like you may have to join 2 sports, 3 clubs, and take 4 advanced classes, but you don’t. This is something that I’ve had to learn for myself. I was going to take 5 advanced classes, work 2 jobs, be in debate, Student Council, and yearbook, and run cross country this year, but I quickly realized that I wouldn’t actually enjoy doing all of that. Instead, I took 4 advanced classes, work 2 jobs, and joined Student Council and yearbook. Although I’m still very busy, my workload is much more manageable. If you find yourself with too many commitments, you may want to rethink your priorities and opt out of doing things you may not enjoy.

Tip Three: Make a Plan

Tip three is to plan out your week. Even though you have a calendar with your events in it, you still have things to do like homework and chores. I use my notes app on my phone every Sunday night to plan out what I’m going to do every day of the week. Alternatively, you could use a planner or just a piece of paper. When I plan my week out, I even mark down when I’m going to shower and workout. You don’t have to be that in-depth, but you should include things like chores, activities, sports, meetings, work, and homework.

Tip Four: Prioritize

Tip four is to prioritize. It’s important to figure out what takes priority within your tasks. For me, it chores, then homework, then friends. Certain classwork is more important than other, like yearbook is less important than math. Make a list of the things you need to do and prioritize. Things like homework and chores are more important than going out with friends, but sleep is more important than a math assignment.

Tip Five: Self Care

Tip five is to take care of yourself. One of these is to take time for yourself. I know you’re busy, but if you keep going, going, going, then you’ll end up losing the motivation and drive to get things done. Whether it be taking a 30 minute bath or watching a tv episode, a little break between tasks can boost your energy and your overall happiness. Just don’t abuse the breaks, because you won’t get anything done. Another way to take care of yourself is to workout and eat healthy. Working out, even for 15–30 minutes a day, can improve your energy and mental health. This is because when you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that make you feel better, and because working out delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Working out also prevents brain degeneration and improves your cognition.

Tip Six: Find Support

Tip six is to have a support system. My freshman year, I was at a school where I didn’t know anybody and I had a really busy workload. I was always stressed and didn’t make many friends so I had nobody to turn to. This year, I’m at a different school with my friends and even though my workload is even harder, I’m handling it much better than last year. I’m not saying to have a million friends, I’m just saying to have people to talk to. Have a close friend to relax with, have a teacher to give advice, or even confide in your parents (they’ve been through this before). If you need a break, invite a friend to do something or go out with your parents.

Tip Seven: Stay Realistic

Tip seven is to be realistic. There is only so much you can do in a day, week, or month. I used to always think I could do more than I actually could in one day. I’d plan to workout, go to a meeting, and do three homework assignments. But doing that and still having time to eat, take a break, shower, and sleep is unrealistic. If you plan too much and don’t get it all done, it will stress you out even more. Figure out how much time each task will realistically as you plan out your schedule, so you don’t cram too much into one day.

Tip Eight: Set Goals

Tip eight is to set goals. Goals can be something fun to work for and something rewarding to meet. It can be any type of goal, such as something mental, physical, social, or academic. Examples might be getting at least an 85% on a math test or running a mile in 7 minutes. Try and make your goal something that already relates to something in your schedule though, so it doesn’t become more work.

Tip Nine: Eliminate Distractions

Tip nine is to eliminate distractions. Distractions are one of the main reasons you aren’t productive. When you’re doing homework, turn off your phone and move it out of arm’s reach. Make sure you aren’t watching tv while doing a task that requires a lot of attention and keep music at a low volume so you can think.

Tip Ten: Have a Routine

Tip ten is to have a routine. Although a routine may be hard to adhere to sometimes, a general routine is helpful to have. Set a bedtime for yourself, set the days you know you have club activities, set the days you’ll shower, and set the times you’ll workout (or have free time). Then set times you’ll do homework and hang out with friends. This creates a base schedule for you to follow but also allows you to remain flexible incase something pops up.

Although having a loaded schedule can be hard, it can still be manageable. By planning out your time, staying happy and healthy, and prioritizing, you’ll find that you won’t feel so overwhelmed or stressed. These tips and tricks will help you keep your obligations and commitments in check, and help you still feel like a normal human being.

Emotions are intrinsic to all human motivation.

Posted Mar 08, 2017

While many successful people can’t resist the urge to do things right away, countless others put things off until a deadline beckons them. High achievers put effort into their work and never miss deadlines, even though some may complete a task minutes before the cutoff point. What motivates successful people to get something done and do it well? Maybe you assume their motivation is fueled by images of having pride or getting rewarded for their efforts. Imagery, however, instantaneously but not always consciously, accesses our internal warehouse of emotional memories where pleasure associated with our efforts was previously felt. These emotional memories may involve anything from recently felt enjoyment about an accomplishment to long-forgotten excitement mirrored in the face of caregivers celebrating our first steps. Emotions are intrinsic to all human motivation. Even so, we are not solely motivated by anticipating positive feeling.

A marvel of evolution is that we are also motivated, and even driven to achieve, by negative emotions—a primary, powerful, and often misunderstood source of motivation. How does that work? Essentially, people are motivated to do something based on their desire to turn on emotions that are positive or to turn off the negative ones. [1] It’s just a fundamental principle about how we function emotionally. Labeling emotions as positive or negative has little to do with their value, but instead involves how they motivate us through the ways they make us feel. Negative emotions like distress, fear, anger, disgust, and shame motivate us to do something to avoid experiencing them, or they urge us to behave in ways that will relieve their effects.

The activation of emotions also determines the behavior or procrastinators and non-procrastinators. The different timing of procrastinators and non-procrastinators to complete tasks has to do with when their emotions are activated and what activates them. Procrastinators who consistently complete tasks on time—even if it’s at the last moment—are motivated by emotions that are activated when a deadline is imminent. They are deadline driven. In contrast to procrastinators, task-driven non-procrastinators who are faced with uncompleted tasks feel compelled to take action right away. Motivated by their emotions to complete a task ahead of schedule and put it behind them, those who are successful attend to the quality of their work prior to scratching the task off their list. Thus, procrastinators are motivated by emotions that are activated by deadlines and task-driven non-procrastinators are motivated by emotions that are triggered by the task itself.

Motivational styles generally develop at a young age, and many people can link their particular style to memories of completing school assignments or everyday tasks. Early response patterns to emotion—such as when emotion was activated that motivated you to complete your homework, make your bed, or even brush your teeth —continue to influence how you tend to get things done throughout your life. You might assume you did these things simply because you were supposed to do them, only aware of thoughts such as, “I should make my bed.” However, I can assure you that emotion was present that motivated you to do it or not. These early life experiences, at some point, solidify into characteristic emotional responses to tasks and lead to a particular style of getting things done.

Importantly, how we learn from dealing with core emotions, to a great extent, makes us who we become. Since our biologically-based core emotions, when activated, are instantaneously filtered through our personal history, culture, and implicit memories where that emotion was previously activated, we are bound to be “messed up” in some of the ways we interpret our emotional lives.

One example has to do with people who consistently fail, rather than succeed, to get things done. When a deadline passes, failure is not simply a result of procrastinating. Usually an entirely separate emotional issue or some other obstacle has interfered with the person completing their work. Unlike successful deadline-driven procrastinators, people who fail are often not motivated by their emotional responses to complete a task when a deadline looms. Rather, their emotional responses further disable them. When the deadline passes they blame failure on procrastinating rather than explore what’s really going on. Many therapists, teachers, family members, or self-help books also view failure as having to do with delay rather than recognize the more complex emotional issues impeding an individual’s success. Contrary to popular belief, I have found in my work with high achievers that procrastination does not interfere with success. Those who wait are just as likely to be successful as people who complete tasks ahead of time. Thus, procrastination should not be linked with failure, just as early action should not be tied to success.

Emotional issues that interfere with the success of non-procrastinators are often hidden because, while they do complete their work, the quality of what is produced may be sub-optimal. In addition, people who experience an urgency to get things done may find that their attention to tasks is at the expense of relaxing or engaging with others.

In later posts, I’ll be considering the ways in which both positive and negative emotions significantly influence our lives, provide motivation to get things done, and silently direct the decisions we make. This subject matter is discussed in detail in my book, What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, and Success.

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing the ability to honour deadlines is an essential part of reputation-building. However, many digital marketers fall prey to the twin transgressions of over-commitment and under-delivery. So how do you handle tight deadlines and maintain a high standard of work? Here are 4 tips to help you never miss a deadline, developing stellar professional reputation that will get you recognized by colleagues and supervisors.

Tip 1: Never commit to a deadline you know you cannot meet.

Sometimes in your efforts to please a customer or a boss you may be tempted to accept a deadline that you know you cannot meet — even if you work 24 hours per day. However, going without sleep for extended periods is bound to impact your health and well-being — not to mention productivity!

Numerous research studies have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep, you risk losing cognitive speed, your ability to concentrate is significantly impaired and your working memory is affected. In short, at a certain point working longer hours are far less effective than working shorter hours.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re one of these young, ambitious marketers who are keen to make their mark or older experts who are just desperate to remain in the top ranks. Both groups may easily fall prey to the heady coercion of a fast-paced industry and the tight deadlines it demands.

However tempting it may be to say “yes” to unrealistic deadlines, just DON’T! You will gain more from communicating honestly and negotiating reasonable deadlines rather than from promising something that you know you might fail to deliver.

Tip 2: Once you have committed to a deadline, always meet it.

Once you have committed to a deadline, meet it at all costs. Your personal and organisational reputation will suffer if you don’t. Also, if you do not meet YOUR deadlines, you may negatively affect the ability of OTHERS to do their jobs properly.

Your actions may have a devastating domino effect, so show your professional responsibility by getting things done on time. This is how you build a reputation as a reliable worker able to deliver their expertise in specific time frames.

Tip 3: Planning and time management are key.

If you have to work on tight deadlines, planning and time management are key to make it all work. Break large tasks into smaller manageable chunks, and make sure to attach milestone deadlines to each task. Matching sections of the work with milestone deadlines will help you to eventually meet the final deadline right on time.

The key to good project management is the insight that if you suspect something might go wrong (and it probably will!), be prepared for it and create a plan B. If at any stage in the process you foresee delays or obstacles, make contingency plans in advance. Now, if these contingency plans involve other people, be sure to keep them in the loop.

Tip 4: Concentration is the key to meeting deadlines and delivering good work.

If you’re working under a tight deadline, try to focus on one thing at a time. In open space offices it is often difficult to cut out distractions, but one thing you can do to make your life easier is put on noise cancelling earphones, switch off your phone (or at least silence all the non-essential groups and notifications) and simply CONCENTRATE on the task at hand.

In a perpetually connected world it is challenging not to get distracted by social media messages of a personal nature or fight the urge to check emails. However, these activities bring you little value and simply steal your time, effectively interrupting your thought processes and making you less productive.

Research by cognitive scientists shows that assignments often take longer to complete because of distractions and that additional time nearly always comes from the effort it takes to refocus after an interruption. When people are mentally tired, they also make more errors and are sloppy. Scientists also say people suffer more mental fatigue when they repeatedly drop and pick up mental threads — multitasking is definitely a bad idea.

It is all about synergy.

All in all, your ability to handle tight deadlines and maintain high standards of work will depend on the synergy between emotional, cognitive and administrative skills. If you develop time management skills and are able to realistically predict how much time you’ll need to a given task or a series of tasks, you’ll be on your way to getting everything done perfectly on time.

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

If you’re like a lot of people today, you always feel like you have too much to do. You probably also feel like you don’t have enough time to take care of everything on your “to do” list, much less have some time for yourself, as well. But there are ways to get more done faster, and still have the opportunity to do the things you want to do.

Here are some things to consider when you’re trying to decide how to tackle that list and incorporate enjoyable things that matter to you along the way. You really can have both productivity and enjoyment, if you organize things the right way.

1. It’s All About the Organization

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

Getting everything done and having time to relax really is about the organization of all the things that need to get done. If you manage your time and set proper goals, you’ll be able to complete the tasks that are important to you. By getting those things done quickly, you can turn your attention to the things you want to do, instead.

That way you get time for yourself, and the important things in life still get accomplished, as well. You need “me” time, so you can be your best self and be ready to face the day. Downtime can actually help you accomplish things more easily, as well as more quickly.

2. Set Priorities to Accomplish More

It’s simply not possible to do everything at once. While you might feel like you need to, so things can get completed, you’ll have to slow down and take a careful look at what’s going to be more important to you. By deciding on the truly important things, and prioritizing them, you can get them done when they really need to be.

Then the things that aren’t as important can be completed at a later date, over time. You’ll still get everything done, but it doesn’t all have to be done today. Not all tasks are priorities, and it’s important to know the difference.

3. Put Downtime in Your Schedule

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

Taking time for yourself, to do the kinds of things you want to do, should be something you schedule. Even if you’re busy, your time is precious and valuable. Make sure you’re taking some of it just for you, and the kinds of things that matter to you. Time to recharge is highly important, especially for people who have stressful jobs and busy lives that they might want to get away from now and then.

4. Visual Goals Can Keep You on Track

By using an app, a calendar, a white board, or some other method of visualizing your goals and your “to do” list, you can see what’s getting done, what matters, and what really doesn’t. That’s a great way to focus on what’s being completed, what’s coming up, and what isn’t going to get done the way you’d hoped.

You might have to make adjustments and move deadlines, but there’s nothing wrong with doing that for most tasks. There are very few things that absolutely have to be done at a certain time or on a certain day.

5. Be Reasonable With What You Can Accomplish

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

People get caught up in doing “all the things.” It’s nice to see how much you can get done, and it definitely gives you a sense of accomplishment. But you have to be fair and realistic about how much you can actually complete in a certain period of time. If you try to do too much, you risk getting overwhelmed and burned out.

That could lead to you actually getting less done, and still not getting any time for yourself. Schedule honestly, and be open to making changes as needed.

6. Let Time to Yourself Matter the Way it Should

No matter what kind of job you have or how busy your life is, you’ll probably have people telling you that you’re not doing enough. You might also find that people frown on taking downtime or doing something for yourself.

But self-care is not selfish.

In fact, it’s very important and a great way to keep you interested and engaged in your life. Because of that, you’ll want to focus on your value, and let yourself matter. You have a lot to offer to others, and you’ll do that in the best possible way when you’re well-rested and feeling like you’ve had some time for the things that matter to you.

Kylie Browne

Kylie is our friendly Community Manager. Organizing advocate. 80s music fan. Busy Mom. Amateur over thinker. Thrives on coffee and chocolate.

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

Creative ways to find the time.

You keep waiting for the “perfect time” to sit down and knock out your work presentation in one go, but at the end of the day you realize you spent your time in meetings. You may never get your perfect time or ideal day, so start working within the reality that meetings happen — and that you can get important stuff done in between them. Try to break down the big task into bite-sized ones you can fit in between your meetings. You can also try scheduling in your project work time by blocking off a couple hours at a time and trying to stick to that schedule. Once you have that time, you can prioritize which projects you want to work on and in what order. Don’t let meetings keep you from getting those projects done. There’s plenty of time, if you can strategize and prepare for it.

Creative ways to find the time.

Each morning, you emphatically write at the top of your to-do list, “Work on presentation!” Perhaps you even underline it a time or two for emphasis. But at the end of the day, your resolve has turned to dismay: yet again, you spent most of your time in meetings. And when you had a bit of time between them, you didn’t make any progress on your presentation.

So you keep waiting for the “perfect time” to sit down and knock out the whole project in one go. But meetings keep interfering and your presentation languishes on your to-do list, weighing heavily on your mind until you can’t escape it any longer. In a flurry of activity, you work day and night to get it done. You meet the deadline, but suffer in the process and dread the next time you need to finish another large task.

This cycle of knowing what your most important priority is, but feeling like meetings keep you from doing it, can be incredibly frustrating. But as a time management coach, I’ve seen that even if this way of working has been your life-long pattern, you can develop a more sustainable and less stressful approach to projects. Here are some tips on how to get project work done even when you need to start and stop for meetings.

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First off, I want to challenge the idea that there’s a “perfect” time to move ahead on projects. A meeting-free day or even half-day may be your ideal, but you may never have this type of time. Waiting for a slice of project nirvana keeps you from getting started when you can. A better approach is to accept and work within the reality that meetings happen.

Next, to understand how to work on big projects in the smaller spaces between meeting, break the larger item into smaller parts. You can use your checklist as a guide for how to make incremental progress when you have a 30-minute break between meetings. For example, to prep for a presentation, you might write out:

  • Search for boss’s email about key points she wants covered
  • Look at notes from the last meeting
  • Talk to the building project manager
  • Think through the structure of the presentation
  • Write up the deck
  • Insert charts
  • Double check citations
  • Edit for typos and flow
  • Send to boss for approval
  • Schedule meeting to review the deck internally prior to the board meeting
  • Make edits
  • Write meeting agenda
  • Distribute deck and meeting agenda prior day

Even if you can just tick off one or two of these items at a time, you are still making progress. And when you come back to work on the presentation after some time away, you’ll know what you’ve accomplished and what’s next.

Another strategy is to protect some unbroken stretches of time in your schedule by putting in project time as a recurring event. For example, some of my coaching clients will block out an hour or two each morning for focused work. Some others have two, two-hour blocks of time in the afternoons each week marked as “busy.” Inserting in project time to give you at least an hour to get things done each day, preferably more, allows you to build some momentum day-by-day and week-by-week. It’s likely people will try to schedule meetings during those times, but when you can, hold firm to those boundaries.

Guarding time for projects as a recurring event starts to open up some room between meetings. But to really get project work done, you need to have pre-decided what you will do during those open times. If you don’t, the path of least resistance will lead to doing the first thing that comes to mind — like answering email.

You can approach making decisions about how to fill the project time in a few different ways. One strategy is to schedule in the projects as you receive them. For example, when a meeting is scheduled to present the latest data on your new building project to the board, you could immediately edit some of the project blocks of time in your calendar to designate the prep you will need to do. You may have two or three project work blocks marked for working on the PowerPoint presentation and then another project work block designated for practicing in front of your colleagues prior to the meeting. I use this scheduling strategy often — putting in time for writing articles, creating schedules for clients, etc., in my calendar as soon as I’m aware of the project and the deadline.

Another way to tackle project calendar blocks is to assess your priorities on a weekly basis. You can do this on your own, though in some work environments it makes more sense to do this planning as a team. Once your priorities are decided, put them into the open blocks of time in your schedule. This will give you a realistic picture about what will actually fit, and will give you advanced clarity on what you need to accomplish to avoid yet another week of little-to-no progress. Then, when you do sit down to do project work, refer to your checklist of smaller tasks. Accomplish those first, and then use the last five or 10 minutes before your next meeting to check email.

Also, be sure to save what you’ve completed and leave yourself a note of exactly where you stopped and what’s next. You can write any updates on your task list such as “left voicemail for building project manager, follow up if haven’t heard back by Friday.” And, of course, check off or delete items when you successfully complete them.

Although you may long for the perfection of a meeting-free day, you can still get project work done when you’re interrupted by meetings. Use these strategies to start making progress on your projects now.

Your ADHD brain does not respect deadlines. It organizes information differently and loses sight of the big picture. It also gets very focused and creative when it’s motivated to succeed. Here are 14 ways to do just that, and to complete projects on time and above expectations.

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Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Consider how much time is available in your busy schedule, and plan accordingly. If you take on a new project, you might have to put other activities on the back burner in order to finish it in time. To resist the urge to over-schedule, agree to give up one project for every new one you take on. Ask yourself if the new project is worth the sacrifices you’ll have to make getting things done in other areas.

Take It One Project at a Time

Having to tackle several big projects at once is stressful for people with ADHD. Set one priority, and get it done, tying up all loose ends before moving on to a new project. For instance, get new eyeglasses before cleaning your gutters. Or take your car in for maintenance before revising your résumé.

Post Your Deadlines Where You’ll See Them

This simple action will remind you to use your time wisely. Write down reminders (such as “Taxes Done by April 1”) and post them on mirrors, cabinets, or anywhere else you’re likely to see them. Set your screensaver as a reminder, or schedule reminder e-mails or texts.

Define Your Objectives

Is your goal to become an expert on home improvement? Or is it to get the kitchen remodeled before October? Once you have a clear idea of what the end goal is, it will be easier to stay focused. Finishing on time is one of the most important objectives for people with ADHD.

Break Big Projects Into Smaller Parts, and Set a Deadline for Each

We’re usually given a deadline for the date by which the entire project has to be completed. To keep yourself on track, mark the date by which you should complete one-quarter of the project, one-half, and so on. Those dates will alert you to problems while there’s still time to play catch-up.

When Time Runs Short, Outsource

Don’t assume that you must do every portion of a project. In many cases, it makes sense to outsource or delegate. If you have trouble paying bills on time, hand the job over to your spouse, or put as many bills as possible on auto-pay. Hire outside help, such as a nanny to keep you on task, or college students to scan and file papers.

Minimize Distractions

Things that distract you on a regular basis should be addressed. Keep losing your glasses? Train yourself to put them in a special place. If you’re distracted by magazines strewn about your kitchen, put a basket in another room, and make sure the magazines get into it.

Take Frequent Breaks

Those who fail to get away from a project occasionally are likely to start avoiding it—or to just give up. Taking breaks will help you avoid burnout. Set a timer for the amount of time you think you can concentrate, whether that’s 20 minutes or an hour. Do your best to focus and stay on task for that amount of time. Take a five to 10 minute break when the timer goes off.

Start and End When You Say You Will

It’s easier to stay on task when there’s a specific end time in sight. If you’re working on a big project, say, finishing a masters’ thesis, or creating a design for a client, set specific hours for yourself. For example, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Without an established end time, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “I’ll take a break and do something else and work on it later,” and then get distracted along the way.

Slow Down

Periodically ask yourself why you’re in such a hurry, and take the question seriously. If the answer is “because I’m late,” assess your priorities and cut out unnecessary responsibilities. The time you save should be devoted solely to personal or family time.

Know Where Your Time Is Going

Not sure where the time goes? Create a chart, and record everything you do. Maybe the chart indicates you’re spending too much time looking for lost keys or nagging your teenage daughter to clean up her room. Think of some creative ways to eliminate these (hanging a key hook near the front door or deciding that her room doesn’t really need to be clean, after all).

Think Twice About Multitasking

Research shows that doing two things at once takes about 50 percent longer than doing them sequentially. An exception to this rule: Some people with ADHD focus better if they do something essentially mindless while tackling an important task—for example, listening to music or balancing on a ball while doing homework.

Rethink Your Filing System

Individuals with ADHD often have trouble with filing because they create too many categories. Better to keep your categories broad, and use subfolders where necessary. For instance, you might label one folder “insurance,” and fill it with subcategory folders for life insurance, car insurance, and health insurance.

Create a Document Hot Spot

This is a folder for important, time-sensitive documents. In this folder, which should be kept on your desk, you should place papers representing up to five different tasks that must be attended to within the next 24 hours—an overdue bill, a client file, a phone message to return, and so on. Clear out your hot spot daily.

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

We all have a busy life. Aside from the affiliate marketing, we are working on; some have a daily job, others raise their children. I also have another business to cover our living cost. That business heavily involves physical activities (and more you do more you make, but if you don’t do, you won’t make money that kind of thing…) so every day I come back home, I get so tired. I sat down in front of my computer, but not only my body is exhausted, but also my mind is blocked. There are many tasks in Super Affiliate challenge. So many things to do in so little time, and my body and mind are not keeping up! Do you have the same feeling? How can we get things done effectively?

Spend Time to Do Something Else

I don’t know about you, but when I have so many things to get done promptly, I tend to do my best to squeeze my tasks to fit my schedule. With stress and tiredness, the things don’t move fast enough, and then I get more stressed out… I have been through this frustration for quite some time. Then I decided to go to the different approach: to spend the time to do something else instead of work on my “must-do” tasks. Giving up my precious time to do something else! I felt crazy, but I tested it out. Actually, my productivity got a lot better. It is not really how long you work on your project. It is how efficiently you can get it done in short period.

If you take care of yourself first, your brain gets enough rest to focus more when you do some work. Here are some suggestions:

Meditation

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)I do one-hour meditation a day. First I felt it was too much of my time to spend when I have only a few hours a day to work on my online business. However, the result has been amazing. My mind is completely clear, and I can focus more. The article here shows how meditation makes you more productive. By increasing our capacity to resist destructions and urges.

Try to find even 20-30 min to stay still and meditate. You will see the great results.

Exercise

Exercise enhances not only physically but also mentally. This article explains that mitochondria, one of the components in our cells and referred as “power plant” produce the chemical that our body use as energy, known as ATP. So when we exercise, our body produces more ATP and in turn, give us more energy to our body as well as our brain.

Besides the scientific explanation, I know having a bit sweat clear and refresh my mind. Go outside and take a walk, or go to the gym to get on the treadmill for 30-45 min.

Sleep

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)Yesterday I was so exhausted that I could not even sit one hour meditating. My mind was too tired to stay awake. It was only 7:00 pm and I did not do anything that I was supposed to do for Super Wealthy Affiliate challenge, but I decided to go to sleep. I was planning to take a “power nap” for one hour or so but ended up sleeping till next morning. Well, instead of feeling guilty of not getting anything done, how much refreshing feeling I got! In fact, this blog came to my mind after I had a long sleep. You can also do a “power nap” for 30 min or so in the middle of the day. You will feel like you slept all night.

I am sure there are a lot more ways to spend time for yourself to increase your productivity. What these three have in common is that you keep your mind away from your pressure of “must-do” tasks. You may feel like saying, “I don’t have time for that!” but you should have time for that. When you feel you have so many things in so little time, take such little time away from things to do, and give it to yourself. You will see how much you get things done effectively!

How to get away from your tight schedule (and still get things done)

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing the ability to honour deadlines is an essential part of reputation-building. However, many digital marketers fall prey to the twin transgressions of over-commitment and under-delivery. So how do you handle tight deadlines and maintain a high standard of work? Here are 4 tips to help you never miss a deadline, developing stellar professional reputation that will get you recognized by colleagues and supervisors.

Tip 1: Never commit to a deadline you know you cannot meet.

Sometimes in your efforts to please a customer or a boss you may be tempted to accept a deadline that you know you cannot meet — even if you work 24 hours per day. However, going without sleep for extended periods is bound to impact your health and well-being — not to mention productivity!

Numerous research studies have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep, you risk losing cognitive speed, your ability to concentrate is significantly impaired and your working memory is affected. In short, at a certain point working longer hours are far less effective than working shorter hours.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re one of these young, ambitious marketers who are keen to make their mark or older experts who are just desperate to remain in the top ranks. Both groups may easily fall prey to the heady coercion of a fast-paced industry and the tight deadlines it demands.

However tempting it may be to say “yes” to unrealistic deadlines, just DON’T! You will gain more from communicating honestly and negotiating reasonable deadlines rather than from promising something that you know you might fail to deliver.

Tip 2: Once you have committed to a deadline, always meet it.

Once you have committed to a deadline, meet it at all costs. Your personal and organisational reputation will suffer if you don’t. Also, if you do not meet YOUR deadlines, you may negatively affect the ability of OTHERS to do their jobs properly.

Your actions may have a devastating domino effect, so show your professional responsibility by getting things done on time. This is how you build a reputation as a reliable worker able to deliver their expertise in specific time frames.

Tip 3: Planning and time management are key.

If you have to work on tight deadlines, planning and time management are key to make it all work. Break large tasks into smaller manageable chunks, and make sure to attach milestone deadlines to each task. Matching sections of the work with milestone deadlines will help you to eventually meet the final deadline right on time.

The key to good project management is the insight that if you suspect something might go wrong (and it probably will!), be prepared for it and create a plan B. If at any stage in the process you foresee delays or obstacles, make contingency plans in advance. Now, if these contingency plans involve other people, be sure to keep them in the loop.

Tip 4: Concentration is the key to meeting deadlines and delivering good work.

If you’re working under a tight deadline, try to focus on one thing at a time. In open space offices it is often difficult to cut out distractions, but one thing you can do to make your life easier is put on noise cancelling earphones, switch off your phone (or at least silence all the non-essential groups and notifications) and simply CONCENTRATE on the task at hand.

In a perpetually connected world it is challenging not to get distracted by social media messages of a personal nature or fight the urge to check emails. However, these activities bring you little value and simply steal your time, effectively interrupting your thought processes and making you less productive.

Research by cognitive scientists shows that assignments often take longer to complete because of distractions and that additional time nearly always comes from the effort it takes to refocus after an interruption. When people are mentally tired, they also make more errors and are sloppy. Scientists also say people suffer more mental fatigue when they repeatedly drop and pick up mental threads — multitasking is definitely a bad idea.

It is all about synergy.

All in all, your ability to handle tight deadlines and maintain high standards of work will depend on the synergy between emotional, cognitive and administrative skills. If you develop time management skills and are able to realistically predict how much time you’ll need to a given task or a series of tasks, you’ll be on your way to getting everything done perfectly on time.