What to do when you have procrastinated?
You've vowed that you wouldn't do this again, but despite your efforts, things have gotten away from you, and now you're staring down a deadline with the clock ticking. If you're a born procrastinator, changing the way you work can be a challenge that takes a while to overcome. In the meantime, how do you make the best of the situation and maximize the (little) time you have?
Don't panic, but get on it
Forget making orderly lists and coming up with a detailed plan of attack. The window for that has come and gone. Sketch out any quick reference notes or
reminders on sticky notes and dive straight in. Have faith in yourself, but take a moment to observe the chaos and remind yourself of why you don't want to be in this situation again. Now hold that thought until you're done—don't let it keep you back.
An easy way to cover all your bases while staying motivated? Alternate between working on the most critical components and the quickest wins. Between those two, people may not notice whatever you don't manage to get to. Prioritize the 'visible' wherever you can—hot topic, highly scrutinized content, and come back to covering background info or areas of lower concern. If someone asks, offer to look into it and get back to them at a later date, which buys you time past your current deadline. Be ruthless about getting it done - finish a task and move on. You can go over your work later if you have time. If you have an understanding friend or colleague available, ask them to do you a solid and give everything a once-over and report back.
Take care of yourself
You may not think you have time for meals or rest, but you can't afford to skip the basics. It will be easier to maintain your focus and concentration if you give yourself a break to eat something and take a mental timeout to recharge. Ideally, you'll be nourishing your body with a healthy and balanced meal, but in this situation, you'd be forgiven for using UberEats for food on the go. Order an extra coffee while you're at it.
Congrats—you pulled through! Despite your very tight timeline, you managed to put together something sufficiently professional and polished for submission. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. But when things have calmed down, it's time to conduct a post-mortem. How did you fall back on your old, procrastinating ways? Were there any triggers that caused this situation? What was the result, and where could you have done better if you had the time? Were there any consequences to your procrastination? Outline some achievable steps you can take and apply them towards your next project. If you have one coming down the pipe, start on it today (not tomorrow)! You will never have more time than you do at this very second. So get going!