Thriving in the Last Minute

Posted by Veronica Dearsley on

There are 2 types of people in the world: magical wizards that manage their work appropriately and get things done with time to spare, and people that are still finishing off with 30 seconds left on the clock. 

I'm the second one. 

I'm not the most chaotic person in the world - I'm always on time, I have a very full family schedule that is managed with military precision and plan as much as I can meticulously. However, as hard as I try, this does not extend into my creative endeavours, and therefore a huge part of my work life. 

Now, I've spent a lot of time beating myself up about this, because it's just poor adulting right? Well, lately I'm thinking not so much. I need a bit of pressure to get the job done, and that's not SUCH a bad thing, as long as everything is delivered on time, no one gets hurt, we can all live happily ever after? Again, not so much. But what I have realised, is that if I work WITH myself and my annoying brain rather than against it, it makes life much easier. 


If I have a project to work on, instead of blocking out tonnes of time at the beginning that I end up wasting, I'll block out a *little* bit of time for brainstorming/sketching but then the majority of the time I will block out the day/week up to the deadline (depending on the size of the project.) 

Staying on Top

In order cope with my work related last minute creativity, I need to stay on top of all the other stuff in my life. This means following routines with everything I possibly can. So for example, I split all the household chores up so a little is done every day, so it always feels like the house is clean and tidy, and on the odd day where I need to cram in 36 hours of work, I won't be getting stared down by a mountain of washing up. 

Breaking It All Down

I work from a list, and putting "do xyz project" is just a pointless exercise. Now no amount of breaking it all down is going to result in me miraculously getting finished up way ahead of time, but once I'm ready to knuckle down, being able to tick off little tiny bits of the project is much more effective. So I will break it down to sketching individual elements or pieces, followed by refining and then preparing for print/whatever. 

Cutting Down On Procrastination

Now I find it very easy to reassure myself that as I use social media a lot for work, that's a totally justifiable use of time. Spoiler: it's not. Posting twice a day doesn't justify spending hours on and off scrolling. Now I don't switch my phone off or use apps to restrict my usage, which you might find super helpful, I just use the good old fashioned method of putting my phone the other side of the room. I can hear it, I can check it periodically, however it stops me just absent-mindedly picking it up every time I lose focus for 5 seconds. 

So that's it, thats my 4 step coping strategy for being a garbage person thriving in the last minute. 

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