Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the last minute

I may have mentioned this one or two times before, but I have a problem with finishing tasks in time. While I meet deadlines and usually show up for appointments on time, there is often a lot of last minute stress involved. I've tried to avoid these situations but unfortunately been rather unsuccessful.

Some people claim they are more efficient when working last minute, or that they are more creative when working under pressure. I refuse to believe this. It may be true that there is some correlation between being creative and being an unorganized procrastinator, but I don't think that is a causal relationship. I sincerely believe that those creative people would be even more creative if they managed to overcome this bad habit. It is exhausting, it is stressful, and recently, I've really started to see how this stress affects my temper and how I sometimes take it out on the people around me.

When people repeatedly get themselves into these last minute situation it usually means they have a bad sense of time. But it is also very psychological. I don't think it is laziness. It is perfectionism, insecurity, indecision and sometimes a lack of ability to focus.

When deadlines approach project becomes better defined in my mind. The time-limit becomes more tangible and what I can and cannot do is more evident. But I also become stressed. There is no room for assessing, being creative, revising and refining. There is also no room for unexpected things, like computers crashing, children getting sick, etc.

So how do I deal with this???
  • The practical side involves stuff like making plans, using my calender, being better organized, putting a buffer in my work plans, dividing big projects into smaller ones, etc. I've done all of this to some extent. It helps. But still I often end up with the last minute situation...
  • What is probably more important is to work on the psychological side: the insecurity, the indecision, the perfectionism. I somehow need to shift my paradigms.
  • Finally I think it takes practice. It is a bit like a muscle that needs exercise. I need to find situations where I can start practicing with smaller projects, and then go on to bigger projects.

If anyone has good advise on this I'd love to hear it!


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