This is the second part of my “Make Time For Time” series.
I recently posted about our strange relationship with time. Well, it gets stranger. It’s not always the time of day or how long you have on a project that affects you. It can be the stage you’re at with a project that changes your concept of time.
Let me explain. Some of us are wonderful at getting a project off the ground. We put in all the research and initial notes, getting all sorts of ideas in place and rushing around to find even more fuel to keep the project going.
In all this excitement and hard work, the time has melted away and it’s nearly the deadline. But there’s still so much to do and the project is nowhere near finishing. You think the deadline was unrealistic…but perhaps you needed to use your time differently in order to approach the finish better.
Not everyone suffers like this. Some people are fantastic at getting the work done when everything is in place, but they see such a mountain ahead of them that it seems like all the time in the world wouldn’t be enough to get it right.
With time almost up, they have to give it their best shot. And once they start working, they whizz through it and finish without a problem. But missing out on a relaxed, initial effort means that time hasn’t been used wisely and grades suffer as a consequence.
Sounds scary. But however you work, don’t fear time! The clock ticks on, no matter how you feel.
So how do you combat the two time-eaters mentioned above?
For those who start well:
- Keep the deadline date in your mind at all times. Better still, set your own deadline ahead of time, so you’re prepared for all circumstances.
- Create a plan to fit out over the time you have. Again, working out the time in advance means that you can keep an eye out at each stage of your work, rather than get too excited and find too many things to occupy your mind as you go along.
For those who need a push to get started:
- Make a step-by-step plan of what you intend to do. Start on the first steps straight away. Don’t delay, or you build it up in your mind. The sooner you start, the less bother it will prove in the long run.
- Be aware when you’re procrastinating. It’s a big step to start a job, especially if it fills you with dread. But it’s easier to take that big step than to find other things to do. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; it will just turn it into an even bigger problem later. Confront your fears and get on with the work. Just 20 minutes or so to get the ball rolling. The rest should come naturally.
When you don’t have a specific deadline, you should put a deadline on it yourself so it doesn’t drag on forever. If the task isn’t important, what would happen if you didn’t do it at all? If the task is important, do yourself justice and make it a finite project. After completing the task, you’re able to move on to the next project without getting so much unnecessary build up. You get enough of that without having to contribute to the to-do list yourself!
Are you better at beginning work, or finishing it? How do you manage time effectively? Do you have lots on the go at once, or do you prefer to complete one thing after another?
In the next part of this series, I’ll look at the perils of juggling too many tasks.