As I sit with three things on my plate that must be completed today, I find that it’s ironic that I’m writing about deadlines.  In reality, my most pressing deadline sits completed, waiting to be delivered to the Special Gathering corporate office.  The others are, in fact, my own professional deadlines that personally make my life easier.

Here are a couple of additional hints regarding deadlines that others have taught me and some that I’ve learned the hard way.

  1. Do one thing at a time.  When a deadline looms, you must become totally focused on the pending task. 
  2. Determine what is urgent, what is important, what is necessary and what is simply a good thing to do.  Sometimes, this is hard to decipher.  Last Friday, I received a phone call that a member had been taken to the hospital.  An extremely healthy woman, her heart had stopped for no real reason.  Friday is my bank deposit day.  Additionally, it is a day filled with important appointments and necessary tasks.  This wasn’t a person who had attended Special Gathering in many years but her delinquency wasn’t because she didn’t want to attend; but because her caregiver had determined that she shouldn’t attend.  Everything on my plate was important and necessary; but not urgent.  Was this woman’s health condition urgent?  I felt strongly that this was an emergency and I needed to follow through.  Later, I realized this was indeed the urging of the Holy Spirit.  The member died and God was able to give me wisdom in the middle of the emergency that was extremely beneficial to the caregiver.  At times, only the Holy Spirit can direct you regarding these issues.
  3. Take a break when you hit a brick wall in your thinking.  Don’t sit at your desk fiddling but move away from the issue for a short time and allow a relaxed moment to take the pressure off your brain. 
  4. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted from the main thing.  Peter Lord said, “Keep the main thing the main thing.”  Of  course, he was speaking about our relationship to the Lord but it also applies regarding deadlines.
  5. Seek help if you need it.  Don’t let pride stand in your way of asking for assistance.
  6. Be honest about your skill set and stick with them.  Don’t endeavor to go beyond your skills under deadline pressures.  Each month, we put into the newsletter a page that can be colored by our lower functioning members or a cartoon for our higher-functioning members.  Last night, working on this page, I decided what I wanted to do but I realized it was beyond my artistic skill set.  I worked out the outline and then googled for a free clip-art to finish the piece.  Had I tried to do all of it myself, I would have bogged down into the details.  However, the project became workable and fit within my time frame.
  7. Learn whether you work better with background noise or if this type of white noise is too distracting for you.  Then either keep quiet music going or turn off the distraction.  My husband and a fellow worker need some type of background white noise to be able to keep motivated.  I am exactly the opposite.
  8. Don’t allow a need for perfection paralyze your efforts.  Learn when “good enough” is “good enough.”  Most of the time, we can do a great deal better than we think.  However, perfection won’t ever be achieved.  You will always find things that could have been done  differently or better.  Learn to when to stop.

As I’ve said before, this isn’t the end all and be all of deadline helps.  Have you discovered additional ways that may help others meet the deadline pressure?