3 Ways to Stay Focused When You Have Multiple Deadlines
Remember back in college when you’d get assigned papers from different professors and they were all due at the same time? The same thing happens in business. Sometimes, you get client work with multiple deadlines that are all at the same time. During really busy days, you may have deadlines all on the same day.
This is what happened to me recently. In an effort to give myself a raise in 2018, I pitched a lot and asked for more money. I also happened land a big business deal that has nothing to do with content marketing, but required a significant amount of work from me. Everything had the same deadline.
Oh, and did I mention this was also during a week when I had several networking events to attend because of the holidays? Sleep was definitely not in my foreseeable future.
Most people would freak out and, to be honest, I did a little. There were definitely a couple of moments of overwhelm as I questioned how I was going to get through the week. Fortunately, I met my multiple deadlines, attended the events, and even slept. Here’s how.
Relied on my team.
I have become the queen of outsourcing. I used to be afraid to invest the money, but now I realize I can’t afford not to. This is especially true in times like this when I have multiple deadlines.
One client required a significant amount of work from me – including images. So, what did I do? I outsourced everything that I shouldn’t be handling myself. Can I make graphics? Sure. But it’s probably not the best use of my time. Time, that, is really precious right now.
I also relied on the administrative side of my team to handle emails and blog content for the month. I outsourced all of it so that I would have time to meet my multiple deadlines for clients.
Stop doing things that waste time.
The next step to being able to meet multiple deadlines is to stop doing things that waste time. In all actuality, we should do this all the time, but we don’t.
Here are some of the ways I took things off my to-do list so that I could focus on meeting my multiple deadlines for clients:
- Didn’t respond to every email that came in. If it didn’t have to do with these deadlines, it had to wait.
- Took a break from meetings (unless it was a private consulting client already paying me).
- Limited my time at the networking events. I made an appearance and then went home. No after parties for me.
Essentially, I just had to become a fierce defender of my time so I could meet all of my obligations. Most weeks I can be more relaxed, but not this time.
Just do it.
The last step is to just sit down and do the work. Once you start, you’ll feel less overwhelmed. I also use several tools to help me stay focused including specific playlists and apps that block websites.
Final thoughts: Be grateful.
Above all else, I focus on being grateful for the work. I remember the days when I didn’t have anything coming in, so I’m okay with multiple deadlines. The stress is temporary and my bank account is pleased.