Deadlines bring up two horrors in mind: the consequences of missing it and when it is spelled ‘dateline’. But like it or not, deadlines are necessary in order to enforce discipline at work. Imagine being given a task but your boss didn’t tell you when he wanted it. Should you work on it today? Next week? April 2018? That’s the stuff nightmares are made of.

But deadlines aren’t just for tasks at work. It’s also important to have deadlines for yourself, such as what time to wake up on a working day and how long your breaks are. Here are some tips on how to be a ninja at work:

1. Start your day early and efficiently

Kick off your day with MILO® and a hearty, wholesome breakfast at home or at the office pantry before clocking to get the ball rolling. If your shift starts at 9am, be at the office at 9am to get started. On busy days, you can opt for a quick cup of MILO® 3-in-1 right at your desk! Using the first half an hour at work for idle chit chat and Facebook could land you at lunchtime without having gotten anything substantial done, and you’ll feel lousy and unproductive the rest of the day.

2. Plan your week

It helps to write down all the tasks you have so you get a big picture of what your week looks like. Then, prioritise your tasks accordingly within the given deadlines. Wherever possible, group similar tasks together because moderate amounts of repetitive work gets your mind on a roll. This could mean getting a task done ahead of time! Plus, if you always aim to get something done right at the deadline, it can feel pretty stressful.

3. Have a break, but have a deadline too

Breaks are necessary to refresh your mind every now and then but set very clear rules on when to take breaks, and for how long. It is tempting to take your time to relax after finishing a 2-hour task, but you may lose your momentum and take an even longer time to start on the next item on your to-do list. Be strict with yourself – give yourself a 10-minute break every 2 hours, or after every major task, and stick to it.

4. Celebrate your wins

Some people say, it’s the little things that count. It applies to work too! Crossing off items on your to-do list even on minor tasks like sending someone an email can increase the sense of productivity and gives you the motivation to get more things done. And when you’ve gotten a monster of a task out of the way, reward yourself with a nice cup of ice-cold MILO® at break time!

5. End your day on time

Having to stay back at work can be frustrating for you as well as loved ones waiting to spend time with you. Most of the time, it is possible to spread your tasks evenly across the week and resort to working overtime only when absolutely necessary. Don’t be afraid to negotiate deadlines – when everyone is under stress, everything appears to be needed urgently. Clarifying with some helpful questions could reveal that you can get extra time to work with after all!

All said and done, try not to run your day on clockwork either. Allow some flexibility – both in your schedule and expectations – to accommodate sudden, unavoidable changes. Next, bear in mind also that some tasks require teamwork, so be sensitive to the schedules and workloads of others too. To help give the team spirit a bit of a boost, turn up at brainstorming sessions with a cup of MILO® 3-in-1 for everyone to get off to a great start. Finally, watch everyone excel like superstars!