It is not hard to find a movie or show during the holidays that shows the weight of waiting until the last minute to get things done.  It often is shown in terms of delaying your gift purchases.  However, we can see other examples of how challenges impact when we are already spread thin.  We feel the pain of unexpected events much more when we have a full schedule than when we have some buffer built-in.

Working Well Under Pressure

These examples can be applied to all areas of our life.  Nevertheless, many of us work better under pressure.  Or at least we claim to do so.  There is a burst of energy we get when under pressure.  This chemical rush can help us get across a finish line.  On the other hand, it is easier to get derailed when you have little room for failure.  There is also a sense in many cases that people who claim to work better under pressure are similar to those that claim to drive better after a little alcohol.

Heavier Obstacles Add To The Weight of Waiting

I am not immune to the idea of getting to “crunch time” and knocking a task out at the last minute.  Thus, I know that the little things that are more common than we would like are more impactful during these times.  For example, think of a child asking questions as they tend to do.  This distraction can easily be taken in stride when we have no deadlines weighing heavy.  However, this same behavior may incite a gruff response when a deadline is imminent.

There are even impossible situations that can arise.  We all have had that project that requires a certain item or materials that are readily available.  Yet, when we get to that crunch time, we cannot get access to the needed items.  I can think of times when all I needed was an inch of scotch tape and could not find any.  It was also late, so the stores I could have gone to for the tape were all closed.

Planning Over Scrambling

These examples lead us back to getting better in many ways.  This concept is not just for improving as a developer.  It goes to being able to get more done regularly—plan for your tasks.  Consider what items or people might be required to get that done.  Let them know, get your needed materials.  Your blood pressure will thank you.  That means we need to be more intentional about starting tasks.  When we know something needs to be done, we should spend a little time (at least) thinking about the requirements.  There are related items we might need to set in motion.  Also, we might see opportunities to advance multiple tasks simultaneously, much like the kill two birds with one stone concept.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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