Whether you have a writing deadline for an essay or an article, there are a few rules that you can keep in mind when facing an approaching deadline. These 7 do’s and 7 don’ts will help you with the long journey towards your pending deadline.
The 7 Do’s of Writing Deadlines
#1. Do practice self-discipline
Having self-discipline is important to have in order to do anything in life. You need self-discipline to get up in the mornings, to clean and to reach your deadlines. If you have a writing deadline just write and be strict with yourself when you feel like doing anything else except your work.
#2. Do stay focused
To stay focused there can be no distractions in your environment. Switch off your phone, go to the library where it is quiet and no-one will bother you. A few hours of focused writing can easily get you ahead with your work.
#3. Do create short term goals
Break your huge writing task up into smaller pieces. Make a goal for your day and stick to it. You could even divide your daily goals into smaller parts and assign a time limit to each one. This will help you get through a task that feels too big to complete.
#4. Do ask for help
Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you have very little time left, you need all the help you can get. So ask a friend who is good with editing to proofread your work and help you edit it. Or anything they can help with. That’s what friends are for.
#5. Do feed your brain
When you have a fast approaching deadline it is important to feed your brain for optimal cognitive functioning. When you have a lot of work to do you might skip meals and forget to eat. Try to have some snacks on hand to eat as you work. This will increase productivity and brain functioning. Snack on foods rich in vitamins, minerals and omegas like pumpkin seeds, oily fish, berries and grains. These foods have been proven to improve cognitive functioning and memory recall. Also take your daily vitamin and mineral supplement to help you function at your utmost best.
#6. Do organize your work
It is important to keep your work organized. Make a list of the short and long term goals you have set for your writing deadline. Write an estimate time you think it will take to complete each one. Tick off the completed goals and also write down how long it really took to complete. Ticking down the goals you have completed will give you a sense of moving forward and writing down how long each part of your project goals took, will help you plan for deadlines better in the future.
#7. Do make notes
Keep a pen and paper or notebook close by when you do your work. Sometimes a new idea will occur to you while you are writing, or you will suddenly be reminded of something you must add. Quickly jot down your idea or reminder in your notebook so you do not forget about it later.
The 7 Don’ts of Writing Deadlines
#1. Don’t procrastinate
The number one rule when doing projects with deadlines is to not procrastinate. Always start doing some work when you get the project. This will save doing so much work just before crunch time. When you are very close to your deadline there is really no time for procrastination either.
#2. Don’t stress or be anxious
Stay calm when you have a deadline to reach. Stress and anxiety interferes with proper brain functioning and might cause you to make unnecessary mistakes. When feeling flustered one cannot accomplish goals as efficiently, so try to relax and just do your work.
#3. Don’t work without breaks
Take regular breaks to give your brain a chance to recuperate. You will actually waste more time and make more mistakes if you try to work for hours straight. Your brain will become foggy and you will lose valuable time. Take a break every few hours and do something fun to unwind.
#4. Don’t stop to edit your work
When writing just write, put your bare thoughts on blank paper and do not stop to edit. The creative right brain is used when writing. When you stop intermediately to edit what you have written creative flow is interrupted. This can slow down the writing process so leave the left brain work like editing grammar and spelling for afterwards for maximum creativity and productivity.
#5. Don’t miss too much sleep
When you have an approaching deadline you are going to need all the sleep you can get. Sure, you might go to bed later to do more, but do not work through the night without sleep. This will be counterproductive in the long run as you will be less capable of working fast and effectively if you are tired and overworked.
#6. Don’t fuss about small details
Fussing about small details that are not as important to your writing project, should be avoided when you have an approaching deadline. Rather focus on the most important facts and aspects of your writing piece. Small details can always be added later when you are closer to the final product.
#7. Don’t leave the most difficult part for last
Usually we tend to leave the most difficult part of writing for last. We keep pushing it aside for later, because we fear the challenge this task brings. But leaving it for last might mean not having enough time to do it thoroughly. If it is difficult it will probably take up more time compared to the parts you can easily do. So rather start with the part you dread the most, you will likely find it wasn’t as bad as you thought after all.
The next time you have to write something with a deadline follow these 14 simple do and don’t tips to help you write your best work in the given time.
Images: “Daily planner with the entry Deadline/Shutterstock.com“
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