Time is money, especially in business. When you’re able to crush your deadlines you can take on more projects than ever before to earn yourself promotions and an ultimately higher income.  I wanted to talk to people who deal with deadlines on a daily basis (and where time is literal money) so I headed to the real estate market. There I found a real estate company in Fort York known for moving houses fast.

Here are their top tips for crushing your deadlines.

1. Learn to say ‘No’

It’s easy to get wrapped up in projects that sound interesting but end up dead in the gutter. It’s even easier to get into projects that you absolutely dread and end up wasting your time and effort. One of the hardest things to master is the ability to evaluate projects and to know when to simply turn the offer down.

We naturally want to be people pleasers but we can’t accept everything that hits our desk. Learn to avoid wasting time on needless projects that are doomed to fail. If you take a look at the lawyer market, the top lawyer’s in the business don’t even accept clients they know they can’t get a success story out of.

2. The biggest deadlines come first

When you complete your smallest deadlines you gain quick rushes of excitement. These are good for momentum when you have a lot of small tasks, but not when you’re dealing with a massive project. Once you’re used to quick successes you become lazier with the bigger tasks and postpone them.

Start by working on the largest deadlines first. You don’t have to complete them right away if they’re time consuming, but work on them in chunks so it doesn’t make you feel exhausted when you need to finally complete it.

3. Work in blocks of time

The most productive people typically have a set schedule. This can be created on a program like Google Docs or good old pen and paper. Within that schedule set aside a two to three hour block of time to focus on one big task. You’ll find that this will rapidly increase your productivity when it’s done once daily.

The trick is to make sure there’s nothing to distract you during this block of time. No cell phone, no food or drinks outside of tea and coffee, and no walking around. Sit at your desk and work. If you need extra motivation download a plugin that blocks sites like Facebook.

4. Take some breaks

It may not sound like taking breaks will help you to accomplish deadlines, but it can be mentally positive. Set up some buffer time in between each of your tasks to regroup. Go grab your cup of coffee, answer texts, stretch out, or chat it up with a coworker. These should be small ten to fifteen minute breaks to get you recharged.

5. Utilize the weekends

Okay, no one wants to work on the weekends, but it can have some serious benefit. I’m a writer and I’m always working on writing projects. I have my day job, the manuscript in the works, and side jobs to finish off student loans. It’s fair to say I have a lot of deadlines. I ease the burden of them by waking up in the mornings when the house is asleep and getting a few hours in of relaxed work. This isn’t the rushed work of the office, but relaxing with music and knocking things out in my PJs.

6. Batch tasks together

If there are related tasks, group them together and get through as much as you can in one run. Instead of running to the printer five times a day print everything that you need for the day at once. Small things like this may not seem like an added time benefit, but you’ll quickly notice extra minutes in your day, which leads to hours in the week.

7. Get in your rest

Humans don’t perform well on lack of sleep. We’re beings that need plenty of juice in the tank to perform at our best. Everyone has their own amount of sleep that they need to function well. For some it’s eight hours, others can get by on only six. Keep in mind that your body has something called a sleep debt too. If you go a day on little sleep the next night you should get more than your usual amount. If you struggle with sleep look into healthy non-homeopathic methods to induce yourself earlier.

Crushing deadlines is about finding what works best for you. One method, such as blocking time, may work well for your coworker, but not for you. Play around with time management methods and see what makes you perform best so you can crush your deadlines and bring home that cheddar.

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Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous is an entrepreneur and media contributor with significant experience in the financial markets with stints at Goldman Sachs, UBS Securities and DBRS. Chris has launched several cloud-based businesses, such as Framestr, an online software company utilized by 1000s of major corporations worldwide. He also serves as Vice-President of Toronto based Grey Smoke Media, which spearheads major media buying, and digital marketing campaigns for international clients. Chris currently runs a personal Real Estate Investment Trust with over 15 properties located in South Florida. He serves as a commentator for media outlets such as The National Post and Marketing Magazine.

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