Uhjjhntitled-1You’ve known it’s coming for quite some time, but for whatever reason you just haven’t got round to getting the work done. Other things – important things, of course – have just got in the way. The rest of your life. Having a life at all.

And it didn’t seem like it was due so soon when you were doing those things. You really did need to catch up on your Netflix. And your pub crawls.

But now it’s kind of crept up on you. And you’ve got quite a lot of work to do in not a very large space of time.

And you can’t shake the feeling that actually it would be better to leave it until midnight so that you can do that washing up that you left so you had an excuse not to do this work. Because, really, if it’s left there it will get gross.

But deep down you know that this deadline is the most important thing you could be doing right now.

So you’re sitting at your computer with an open document that so far has only a title written and hoping that the internet will either bore or inspire you into actually thinking up an opening line.

And you will.

If you remember…

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES

Yes, the washing up does need doing, and the sooner you do it the easier it’ll be to get all the scum off. But if you don’t do this work in time, there will be far more serious repercussions than some awkward scrubbing. If you’ve got more than one thing due in soon, check the dates that each one is due in and how much work you have to do for each. Know which one will take the most time and effort and how long you’ve got until the piece is due. Focus your energy accordingly.

WRITE A LIST

It might seem like the most boring and mundane piece of advice you’ll ever receive. But it really does work. Write down a list of all the things you have to do. If you have lots of deadlines coming up, list each one in the order they’re due in. If you have one big thing you have to focus on, break it down into smaller tasks – they could be as simple as research, planning, first draft, editing. Having the list will make the workload you have ahead of you seem far more manageable and it’ll be easier to see how you’re progressing as you tick things off.

STOP PROCRASTINATING AND DO IT

While it is worth taking some time to plan your work and use the rest effectively, there are only so many lists you can write. Don’t waste all your time making notes you won’t use and end up rushing your final piece. Get offline, hide your phone under the sofa cushions and just start writing. If your first paragraph sucks, it doesn’t matter. You can go back and edit it later. But starting is the hardest part. Once you’ve got that first terrible sentence down, the rest will come far more easily and soon enough you’ll have a passable first draft.

You can go back over it as many times as you like to be satisfied with it, but only if you stop faffing around now and get on with it.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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