Critical deadline approaching? Slow down!
When the pressure rises, our instincts tell us to ‘Work harder!’ But what if we’ve got it all wrong? These tips can help you take a more effective approach instead of pointlessly racking up the hours.
Let’s imagine we’re just a few weeks away from a critical deadline. Management is getting anxious. As a project manager, you tell them that your team is going to have to work 20 hours a day to finish everything on time.
4pm: We need to get a version of the client’s software up and running by tomorrow morning.
5pm: Last minute fixes. Everyone gets busy.
6.30pm: Everyone goes home except for two co-workers who will get everything ready for tomorrow morning.
7pm: Surprise – it’s the wrong version! The whole project is now on hold: everything is delayed because of an oversight.
Working 20 hours a day? Pointless – or even counterproductive.
This morning, I read that 20% of workplace accidents happen to people who sleep fewer than 7 hours a night and work more than 50 hours a week. Maybe it’s time to shift the paradigm.
A few pointers:
Limit the number of hours worked in a row
Take the time to prioritise tasks
Start with the most important tasks
Be a pessimist when scheduling – leave time for unexpected issues
Opt for quality over quantity
Take regular breaks