Emergency Tools You Need.
Emergency tools, as I call them. Some tips and tricks for you to buy yourself some time if you are unable to finish your work by the deadline. Some old, some new. Not even a collection.
First, to refresh your memory, what exactly is a deadline? According to The Free Dictionary the word has different meanings. one of them is:
A boundary line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot.
In normal working situations the chance you’re being shot are slim, unless you work in a post office that get regular visits by fired employees. There are two kind of deadlines. The non – negotiable deadline and the negotiable deadline. In reality there is just one. If the deadline is negotiable it’s not a deadline to start with. You’ll risk a slap on the wrist when you won’t finish your work in time. So in reality you do not have to worry about those to much.
Your Tools! You are your first tool. You could try to persuade your boss the deadline can’t be made.
You have to much to do, you are running multiple projects with separate deadlines. Just say ‘NO‘ if you need to. Negotiate if you have to. You can try to – just before the deadline ends – to mail a bunch of people with last minute questions about the project. If asked if you are going to be able to make it, tell ‘them’ you are waiting on input from others. Let your boss know you will email the results of your work the night before the deadline ends. When your boss gets the email and tries to open the attached report in MS Word format he can’t open it. No way. How? Suppose you are working on a MS Word file named ‘My_Final_Report.docx’.
- Find the file on your drive. Look at the properties of the file (Right – Click).
- Find the size of the file (Let’s say 500 Kilobytes).
- Find another file (preferably an image file, JPG, JPEG, BMP or another format you can find.
- Rename the image file to the name of your original MS Word file (My_Final_Report.docx)
- Attach the renamed file to the mail you are about to send your boss.
- Hit ‘Send’ and pray your boss can’t read binary…
On the left is a sample of a JPEG – renamed to MS Word file, opened in MS Word. Jibberish. Period. Buys you one day. Tops.
But, Uhm Seriously?
Like I said before, this will only work once and only if your boss does not know much about computers. Let’s keep it real, shall we?
- Plan SMART. It’s an old technique, but still works like a charm. There are many articles written on the SMART planning technique.
- Using that technique, add a 10 to 15 percent ‘unforeseen’ time, just in case. It’s better to finish a project early, than late.
- Prioritize the different projects you work on. Focus on that.
- Doing more than one task at the same time is counter productive. Unless you’re a woman. (Sorry, had to slip that one in).
- Re-plan if needed and be flexible in how you spend your time. If you get the feeling you are not going to be able to make it in time, communicate that as soon as possible with other people that are involved in the same project(s).
- Try to see the dependencies in your project with other running projects. That way you will not end up waiting on someone else’s work to be done.
“Tickle yourself once in a while, no one will do it for you”
Happy Deadline’ing // Jan