Though deadlines can often help you avoid procrastinating, research also shows that they don’t always work, and there are situations where increased flexibility can be better, in terms of personal productivity.
As such, you should always assess the situation at hand, in order to determine whether setting deadlines will help you or not.
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A way to create less stressful deadlines is to break large projects into smaller tasks. Set a deadline for each task instead of just one final deadline.
Regularly spacing the deadlin...
The Yerkes-Dodson law states that the more mental arousal there is in doing a task, the more efficient a person becomes. After you get to a certain threshold, your performance begins to decrease.
An appropriate quantity of stress should inspire increased productivity.
Difficult tasks require low levels of stress, while easy tasks require high levels of stress to trigger mental arousal.
The next time you set a deadline, try placing a rush deadline for easier tasks and set your deadline far out for more difficult projects.
Getting sidetracked by minor concerns and are never quite able to bring the focus that you need to larger projects.
What to do: Build extra time when ...
You routinely fail to complete tasks because you underestimate the time necessary to finish them.
What to do: Assume as a rule that things will take longer than you expect. Start earlier than you think you need to in order to have a buffer for eventualities. Also, investigate how long past assignments took and why, and identify patterns there that can guide future decisions.
Everything feels like a crisis to you and you spend much of your time putting out fires, leaving you without much time for your biggest priorities.
What to do: Identify your most important goals. List the things you need to accomplish within a given timeframe. Work on other items only if you finish your must-do’s for the timeframe. Also, try setting aside “work blocks” on your calendar to work on your highest priorities, and don’t let yourself schedule over them.
Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.
Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.
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