How I Thrive on Deadlines

Time remaining: 2 minutes.

I went back to my document and saved it as fast as I could. I opened the tab where submission box is and dropped the file as I raced the deadline. Before 30 seconds passed, I clicked submit and confirmation email popped up. Phew, that was close.

That’s how I did my university assignments. No matter how much time was given, I always submitted minutes before it’s due. My friends question why I put myself under such pressure. I never changed because it was working, I was time efficient and the result was satisfactory.

At first I thought I thrive on deadlines. While that statement is indeed a fact, the reason for my success is I start early, even though I finish late.

A few weeks before my assignment is due, I would go through the brief. I would figure out what I need to do, down to the details. If there’s anything I’m unsure or confused about, I would confirm it with the teaching staff. After getting a clear idea, I set up a document.

Over time, I would add one or two sentences to the docs when I feel like it. Then, about two days before deadline, I typed away. Since it’s so close to the due date, there’s no opportunity for me to procrastinate. I was abiding Parkinson’s law, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”.

Don’t feel guilty if you’re most productive near deadlines. Just remember that last-minute work is fine, but Hail Mary-ing your thinking won’t end well. Start your analysis early, so there’s no bombshell to disrupt your last-minute rush.