Deadlines and me

Here at Sirenna we do a lot of project work, which sometimes means we must work to very short deadlines. Today I am going to talk about a few things I’ve learnt and techniques I’ve used to stay on track.


Focus on being productive instead of busy. – Tim Ferris


I watched a TED talk recently by Tim Urban ( and I thought how he explained what I am like and how my brain works to a tee. He talks about how there is an ‘ instant gratification monkey’ that often takes over the brain and is only ever interested in doing the fun and exciting stuff. He is however scared of the ‘ panic monster’ which comes along when a deadline is almost upon us and makes us get on with what we should be doing.

Title Deadlines Caption

Now the fact my brain works in this way has frustrated me my entire life, but I know it affects a lot of us so I am going to talk about my experiences and ways I deal with it.


That silly monkey

We all live in a time where our phones and devices are basically attached to us, and I often get messages from my friends and loved ones, and I have been known to fall prey to that time drainer called Facebook. For some people, shutting out these distractions is easy and they can get on with their day happily ignoring their devices. Not me!

When up against a deadline, I must make a very conscious decision to put my phone away and/or on silent, put some headphones or earphones in and just get on with stuff. It’ s not just Deadlines and me Volume 3 | Issue 1 February 2 my phone either, when working in an office I’ m often surrounded by people who might like to just pop over and ask a question or two on something or just have a bit of a chin wag, however when you are up against a tight deadline these ‘ quick chats’ can be a huge time drainer. That’ s where the headphones come in handy! Nothing says “Don’ t speak to me, I’ m busy” like a pair of headphones.

If you are not a big music or audio book listener like myself, you may find that booking a room or finding somewhere to work that isn’ t your desk may be even more effective at helping you focus on the task at hand.


Increase productivity through rewards

This is one of my favourite things to do – I set myself a task of not looking at any device for a set amount of time (say, an hour or two) and then after that time I give myself 5/10 minutes of completely guilt free goof off time. Mixing this with a small snack or a nice strong coffee occasionally always helps keep my energy levels up.

I have often also decided to treat myself to a new game or a nice takeaway if I finish a project or bigger task (I think it must be a Chinese later!), but this isn’ t something I suggest you do often, mainly because it could cost a lot! However it’ s nice once a week or a month.

So to summarise I find way and means of satisfying the instant gratification monkey whilst I work, and afterwards I get even more gratification from actually completing the task at hand and doing a good job.

I hope you find my tips and tricks about how I manage my time and focus my brain useful, however I am sure there are many other methods that you could and may use, so feel free to let us know in the comments how you battle that monkey!

If you require any further help around time management, or any other area of development, either business or personal, contact us at [email protected] for a chat and a quote.

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