It’s a simple lesson in theory - once you know your deadline and expected result, work hard to front-load work so you finish comfortably.
It just took me the good part of 24 years to really learn it.
3 lessons from 6 months of effective front-loading of work -
1. Scoping work, i.e. making sure the deadlines are realistic, is a valuable skill. If your deadlines are unrealistic, no amount of front-loading will save you. It might ease a bit of pain though. The most important principle of scoping is to under promise and over deliver - it’s a hard one to get right. I’m hoping I’ll have a few tips on that in a year or two.
2. Front-loading work doesn’t remove stress. It just makes sure the stress is positive. Stress quickly moves from positive stress/pressure to negative stress as the deadline nears.
3. Be ruthless about removing bottlenecks early. It is okay to be impatient 4 weeks before the deadline. The joy of being able to check and double check your work in peace as your deadline nears makes all the impatience worth it.