We’ve all been there. It’s Wednesday, it’s 5pm, you’ve been working all month on a project or an assignment and it needs to be done and dusted by Friday morning. You know that if you work tirelessly from now until then, you might make it. So you stay up late Wednesday, make an early start Thursday and work through to the am on Friday. You go through more coffee beans than a Costa training day and stay glued to the screen like kid on COD. You finally get finished, the project’s done and you hand it over.
An hour, a day, a week, a month, even a year later, you look back and realise that the work you done was a load of shite. We’ve all done it. You pick up a document or a presentation the day after you’ve handed it in or presented it and found typos, thought of better ways to structure things or a better way of presenting it. It always happens, we just don’t notice at the time because we’re too busy focusing on finishing it. The thing is, you know the work is rubbish, you know you’re better than that and you know it could have been miles better if you weren’t too rushed and stressed.
So the obvious lesson here is to plan your time better, but some of us just aren’t cut out for that. It doesn’t matter how much I try, I always end up having loads to do during the build up to a deadline. Now, I don’t fight it. Now, I actually prefer to work like that. I’ve learned to enjoy the pressure. So I have another solution for meeting deadlines and producing your best work.
Put it down and leave it alone
Just before you reach breaking point, that split second before you think ‘oh fuck it, that’ll do’, put down your pen, close your laptop, move away from your monitor and leave everything alone. Do something else. Go for a run or a walk or a drive. Have a conversation with the next person you see about the first thing that comes to mind. Get arrested. Egg your neighbour. Slap your sister. Anything. Just get away from any kind of screen, leave your environment and do something completely different.
It doesn’t matter how counter productive it seems, when you become engrossed in a project, it can consume you and working tirelessly long hours with no breaks for the sake of completing a project eventually leads to a slump in productivity and quality. You get so involved that, even when you think you’re making progress and getting things done, you’re not and you end up doing more damage than good. You overlook silly things, you rush things, you make-do. You think you’re doing the best you can, when really you know you just need to get it finished, fuck how it ends up, as long as it’s done.
A Prospective Perspective
Getting away from it all gives you a new perspective when you return. It refreshes and refocuses your mind. It removes you from the situation and places you above it. It gives you a birds eye view. During the time you spend away from it, you’re processing things subconsciously anyway. You’re working over things in the back of your mind all the time and when you get back to it later, it’s surprising how clear things become and how productive you are.
So next time the workload is too much or you’ve got so much to do with so little time, just sack it off completely. Trust me you’ll feel better and the outcome will improve too.
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