5 simple tips to meet project deadlines

Jared was halfway through developing that unbelievably cool application. The specifications were complete, the customer was pleased with the prototype of his user interface and everyone was doing what they did best. There was just this teensy little problem. Sometime ago, Jared had to go help out that fellow colleague with a programming task. Then there’s the time when his users seemed to conspire against him, and decided to take turns calling him with technical queries throughout the day.

Whatever the reason, Jared made a brief calculation and discovered that he’s starting to run out of time. Then he remembered some tips he read from an incredible web site.

1. Shut down your email
Outlook can be detrimental to your productivity. Having to constantly glance at the bottom right of your monitor to check if a new email came in will sap the focus out of you. Ignore people who call you up and say they’ve sent an email 5 minutes ago, and demands that you explain why you haven’t responded. Try checking once in the morning, once after lunch and one last time an hour before you leave work.

2. Go to the toilet often
It matters little if you have a strong bladder. Just go. Walk slower than usual on the way. Have a good look around the office. Take your time while washing up. Your goal is to get away from the computer, away from the task. Your body gets a little exercise and your mind experiences different sensations. All good impetus for igniting your creativity.

If you really want a good reason to go, just follow the next tip.

3. Drink more water
Your brain is already working at hyperspeed. Your body is aching from holding your special fast and furious typing stance. Drink more water. Eat proper foods. Cooling your brain and taking care of your body is important, because you can think better when you can physically keep up with your mental processes.

4. Wear a scowl
Monarch butterflies advertise their distastefulness with contrasting bright colours. Soldiers deter intruders with barbed wire fences. You can achieve the same effect with people who absolutely must bother you with some insignificant detail. Put on the meanest, angriest and most unforgiving scowl you can muster, and note the dropping number of unwanted guests.

5. Leave on time
This may seem counter-intuitive, but leaving work on time forces you to make the best use of your time while you are in the office. You are a responsible programmer, and so you will make sure that the project is still delivered to the best of your abilities. What you want is maximise your throughput instead of increasing the amount of time spent.

After Jared followed those simple tips, he was able to crank out tons of flawlessly elegant code. And lunch with his colleagues. And leave work on time. And manage to catch up with the latest tech news and blogs of his favourite authors.

As Jared was leaving work on the eve of the project delivery, he saw the unfortunate programmers a few cubicles away, mindlessly and desultorily going about their work, having forgone their lunch and now working overtime. Jared laughed (silently of course, as a form of respect for the others), shook his head and left with jaunty steps.