Radical Hacks For Getting More Done When You Have Deadlines

Photo Credit: strategicjuju

We’ve all been there.

You underestimated just how much work the project requires or some emergency cost you a lot of precious hours, and now, you’re left with barely enough hours/days before your deadline is up.

What do you do? Downing more cups of coffee can only get you so far.

What could you do? You could

a. Run to the village to beg the gods for a miracle,

b. Fall ill, get admitted at the hospital and send an email (accompanied by mandatory selfie) explaining that you’ll need a few more days, or

c. you could try these other (saner) ideas which we’ve used with varying degrees of success.

Take an Airplane Day

From experience, we tend to get more done when we’re traveling by plane. And for good reason. Airplanes can be really productive work environments. Think about it. You’re stuck in the same place for hours, and nobody can reach you. You have no internet access, no phone calls, no meetings, and no coworkers, family members or friends popping by to say “hi”.

Before you get scared, wait. We’re not saying you should book a flight to Timbuktu everytime you have insane deadlines. But you could actually mimic this environment in your home/office.

Personally, I take airplane days at least once a week, (or whenever there’s a crazy deadline with an even crazier client). If you don’t feel comfortable turning off your phone, (because let’s face it, we’re all suffering from FOMO) at least use Do Not Disturb mode. Make sure to program your important numbers as exceptions (boss, spouse, kids etc).

Cut down on Multitasking

Multitasking has a negative impact on performance.

Here at Buffrspace, we’re actively fighting multitasking. And when I say fighting, I mean we’re calling out ourselves whenever we find each other doing it. It’s alarming how often we have to. Some people have decided not to go down without a fight though. And it’s understandable — multitasking can make you feel like a badass.

The problem lies within our brain. Or rather, what multitasking is doing to our brains. Our brain is lying to us. Bouncing between many activities or tasks feels so fulfilling, because we feel like we’re actually getting more done. Yet we’re usually not. In fact, the term “multi-tasking” is a fallacy. We’re actually just task switching, as we can’t complete two tasks simultaneously. Seconds lost switching from task to task can add up, stealing a whopping 40% of our productivity in a day.

That preamble was necessary to present the other radical hack.

Stop Multitasking!

Get more done by focusing on one task at a time

Especially when trying to meet “impossible” deadlines. “Many people have convinced themselves that it’s crucial that they are always connected, both professionally and socially, but the reality is that this requirement is self-imposed. Shallow tasks like reading and responding to emails or checking social media might prevent you from getting fired, but it’s deep tasks that produce the value and build the skills that get you promoted.”(source).

It may be tough but you’ll discover that focused and “secluded” work will boost your productivity up several notches.

If these two hacks can’t help you meet your deadlines, well, you could always fall back to plans a and b.

Also read: Challenges You’ll Face When Working Remotely and How to Beat Them

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