The reason why you have found your way here is because you are almost desperate of your cramming attitude. Maybe you got another work deadline coming up this weekend and you dread the possibility of the same scenario happening the day before it—overtime, no sleep, stress, and panic—and you are sick of it.
Well, you would be comforted knowing you are not the only person suffering from cramming distress. One of the stress causes, not only for workers but even students, is meeting deadlines. Everytime that deadliest day comes, employees become mice in the mill run. Even meals and breaks are set aside just to make sure they would hit the mark. Nobody needs to tell you that being in this situation is not a good feeling—you got that almost-heart-attack sensation which is a mixture of worry, frustration, exhaustion, and (high blood) pressure.
You may be asking, “How can I stay away from deadline crams?”. Well, you can find some tips that can be helpful here, but before we go there, it is better if we will have an idea of what cause these. Knowing them can help you prevent cramming.
Reasons why people cram for deadlines
Actually, the problem is not with the deadline. It is part of any worker’s life, may you be an employee, employer, freelancer, or business owner. Aside that the clients or company requires it since they need your service at a specific time, a deadline is necessary for an organized work flow. Therefore, you should not blame it for your miseries.
So what makes deadlines deadly then? Well, it all falls to you. Here are the common reasons why people find it stressful to be working to catch up for deadlines:
1. Time mismanagement
We all blame the piling loads of work on our desk. We think that the reason why we cannot handle our schedules properly is because we have so many things to do. However, the sad fact is that though we know we are already crowded, we still have time for extra fun. It is not wrong to be having recreations but if you have more time for them, like going out with your peers every night till the wee hours of the morning, then it is not a surprise that you can do little things during the day.
I guess this is the most obvious cause for deadline stress. When we know that the deadline is still a week ahead, we tend to procrastinate. Having the mindset that it is still far away, we become relaxed and think we do not have to work on it yet—anyway we got many days left to do it.
When we know we have the skill or expertise to do a task, we get to be confident of ourselves. We think we do not need to rush because we can immediately do it. We then end up procrastinating. Therefore, though we could have done an excellent job on it, because of cramming, we come up with a low quality output instead.
How to beat your deadline
Now, since we already know the causes of deadline crams, we can already solve them. Now, here are some tips on how we can beat our work deadlines:
1. Balance your life
We talked about how we messed up because of a mishandled timetable. If you want an organized and on-time life, you need discipline and some sacrifices.
As a career person, having a planner or organizer is common for us to help us remember business dates or events. A timetable is also popular for those who have hectic scheds for proper time allotment. Well, no matter how good our timetable is, or how helpful a planner is in reminding us of our activities, if we do not have the discipline to follow them and stick to the time then it won’t work. We need to be strict in following our schedules to make sure every priority is given the right attention and amount of time. Unless important, learn to say ‘NO’ to crash appointments which could be a conflict with your other activities.
Another is we need to know our priorities. Our work demands high from us so we have to meet that if we want to stay in it. If we know what our priorities are, like our family, job, and relationship with God, then we would put much of our time and effort in these areas. Meaning, we would be willing to sacrifice some of the not so important things in our life which conflict with our priorities, such as too much peer bonding, TV, and nightlife. Yes you need recreation and enjoyment but they should not be your priority.
Once your life is balanced and you have a working time management, everything will be in order including your job responsibilities. Therefore, you would also be disciplined to stick to the time allotted for a project or task so you can accomplish it on or before the deadline.
2. Be productive
The reason why humans love to be lazy is the need to be comfortable. We think that when we have nothing to do, we can already relax in comfort. However, we overlook the logic that when we choose to be comfortable today because our work responsibility is still due tomorrow, we sacrifice our comfort for the next day.
If we want to be on time for our deadlines without becoming haggard on the way, we must take laziness off from our system. We should make it a habit to be productive in our work everyday to make our job a comfortable one. Being productive means doing what we can accomplish today to lessen our load until we finish everything with ease on or before the deadline.
3. Consider excellence
When we are cramming to meet the deadline, all we care about is to finish everything before our boss or client complains. However, when all we think about is the speed, we tend to compromise the quality of our work.
No matter how knowledgeable or skillful we are if we have little time to finish our task, we are more likely to rush working. When we rush things, we neglect the output quality so we end up a mess.
We have to realize that the deadline is given not so that the worker would have enough time to set that task aside but to use it for quality output. If we want to pursue excellence, we will need all the time given to make sure every detail of our assignment is well-polished. Thus, we won’t have the time to procrastinate.
When you cram for deadlines, you do not only sacrifice comfort, time and work quality, but even your integrity as a worker. If ever you are not able to meet the deadline, all your effort is wasted and your capability as a good employee or employer will be questioned. Therefore, have that determination to renew your mindset and stand on submitting on time.
Image source: Busy Clerk by Vera Kratochvil