This post is in responce to the daily prompt: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights – Tell us your tried and true techniques for focusing when that deadline looms and you need to get work done. In other words, how do you avoid wasted days and wasted nights?
Avoiding wasted time is hard to do, especially when ad deadline is so far out. To avoid this I have found the one tried-and-true method that works for me; checklists and mini-deadlines. When I first start working on a project, I write down all the major steps and goals for the project I can think of. I then start with the first goal of the project and write down every step that I can think of to get from zero to there. I then repeat with each and every goal until I reach my end-state. The key here is once it is all written out step by step is to make it into a checklist starting with the very first step at the top and working my way down. After I have made my checklist, I usually divide it up into even sections and set a deadline for each one. If I have enough time, I will give my self a day in between completing each section as to give my brain a break from that task. Overall, this works great for projects large and small. It keeps me focused on my goals and on task, as well as giving measurable achievements along the way towards completion of the project.
If this doesn’t all work out I do it the night before.