Deadlines: How Not to Get Caught With Your Pants Down

I feel like you guys have caught me with my pants down. I missed my blog deadline.

I know each and every one of us have missed at least one deadline at some time or another in our life. That doesn’t make it any more acceptable. I find missing a deadline completely embarrassing, almost like it decreases someone’s perception of you…like being caught with your pants down.

University is the WORST for deadlines. I remember in second year we had the notorious presentations course: Monday we submitted a 5 page report and Thursday we did a 5 minute presentation. At the same time I was taking finance, accounting and statistics which means I had at least 3 things due each week. On top of that, we were never allowed to submit 5 minutes late otherwise we’d get zero. Weird because I don’t think any of our professors ever started on time unless something was due.

One of the most important qualities you need to develop is punctuality. You can never submit a report late or else you get fired. Same goes if you show up late for a first date, you can bet your behind you’re getting dumped. When you do show up on time or even better, early, people always take notice.

To help with your punctuality here are some tips I used in school. Tried, tested, and true! I never ever submitted a report late!

Map it out on a Calendar: I didn’t start doing this until 2nd year when I discovered our university gave away free 1-year calendars. I can see all 8 school months at one glance. At the beginning of the year I’d print out my course outlines and write them in. This way you can map in your mind when you need to do work. You also avoid nasty surprises when your friend says to you “I finished my calculus assignment; did you get #563?” Nothing like doing integrals at 2 am. The least you can do is use the free agenda provided. Chicks totally dig organization too.

Break large tasks into bite size tasks: “All-righty folks, I want a 50-page report on International Accounting Standards on my desk next Wednesday.” Wow, Commerce is seriously boring. How did I get through it? Best way to look at this giant task is to think how you can break those pages down into the different sections needed, assign them how many pages you think they require and budget yourself time they require. If you just plop down and work on it all at once, it just gets messy and you’ll end up with an F. Best part about this method leads to my 3rd point…

Reward yourself! This is how I used to study. Finish a chapter, get a coffee. Finish the questions, get a cookie. Seems so juvenile, but there’s a reason your parents did it; because it totally works! Nothing pushes me to finish a report like the thought of a nice ice cold frappuccino. This forces you to finish an assigned task without wandering around and distracting yourself every time you get tired/bored/want to strangle something. Use this method wisely; don’t rush to finish! You need to set reasonable goals for yourself otherwise you’ll just find yourself trying to eat your pencil thinking it’s an Oh Henry!

Prioritize: This isn’t just for reports, this also applies to *gulp* exams. You have 5 courses, 5 exams, and 2 weeks to write them all. You can’t learn 5 full courses in 2 weeks. Instead, you have to evaluate each exam and course on its own. How much is it worth of the final grade? What is my grade right now and how will this affect me? Can I make it up elsewhere? Is it realistic to expect an A? Use these types of questions to evaluate which courses/projects should be getting your focus. Eventually something will have to give in these situations so try to decrease the onslaught of horror.

Don’t start too early: I know that sounds weird to advise people not to start early but I found that it’s almost as bad as doing it last minute. I’m not 100% sure why but it’s true! In 4th year, I took a ‘personal selling’ class and I would do my work 2 weeks early where my friends did it the night before. What really ticked me off is they did a full grade letter better than me! I think it’s because:

1) You don’t have all the information required to complete the project yet.

2) You need a little bit of pressure. I find everybody works better with some level of pressure.

Most importantly, the worst thing you can do is save it for the last minute. You “half-bum” it and cut corners that cost you dearly in the end. Professors can always tell when you cheap out on your work and the really funny profs usually end up calling you out on it, especially if you do it over and over. Sorry guys, but nothing is funnier than watching a slacker classmate finally get caught with his pants down.

One Response to “Deadlines: How Not to Get Caught With Your Pants Down”

  1. mjanzen

    I know the feeling! Last summer I had taken four compressed courses with exams all in a row. Alot of us students do not realize that even rewarding yourself even for just a coffee in that sort of situation.

    Reply

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