We are all faced with deadlines almost every day. Sometimes they are very stressful. Do you know how to overcome deadline stress?
Here are nine powerful tips and three actionable steps you can take right away in case you have a stressful deadline in front of you
Tips that will help you with the Deadline Stress
While stress is a normal part of our lives, we have recently become more aware of its negative effects. Long story short, it isn’t great. We should all strive to reduce stress where we can. One unique form of stress is deadline stress. This is the stress you feel when you are worried about deadlines hanging over your head. The Germans even have a word for this: Torschlusspanik. This word roughly translates to “fear of time running out.” Does that sound like something you deal with? If so, consider using these nine tips to help overcome deadline stress.
Set More Realistic Deadlines People tend to be overly optimistic when they initially set deadlines. While this is a hard habit to break, you must get more realistic. Setting deadlines that aren’t reasonable is only going to add to your stress. Instead, make sure you set realistic deadlines that you can meet.
Make a Plan
Do you know how you are going to meet your deadline? Do you have a plan? If not, do this as soon as possible. Taking the time to outline a rough plan will likely reduce a lot of the deadline stress you are feeling.
Tidy Up Your Workspace
A cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. So even if you feel stressed for time, it’s important to take some time to tidy up your work area. A tidy work area means you have fewer distractions and will find it easier to focus on your most important deadlines.
Focus on Things You Can Control
You can’t control every circumstance in your life. So when you are facing a tough deadline, focus on the things you can control. For example, maybe your boss set the deadline, so you can’t control that, but you can control how you spend your time.
Break Down Intimidating Tasks
One of the best ways to deal with deadline stress is to break your intimidating tasks down into smaller action items. Instead of worrying about a huge task due in X amount of days, you can focus on smaller steps that you can do right away. The more of these steps you tackle, the closer you will be to your goal.
Prioritize What’s Most Important
You should always be spending the majority of your time on your most important tasks. If you need help figuring out what you should be working on next, consider both urgency and importance. Important tasks move you towards your goals the most, and urgent tasks have the tightest deadlines. Find the sweet spot between those two tasks to determine what deserves priority.
Focus on Your Inner Peace
Deadline stress is like all other types of stress in that you must find ways to lower it. Focusing on your self-care and inner peace is the best way to do that. Consider taking up a meditation routine. Strive to be more mindful in your everyday life. Find hobbies and routines that naturally reduce your stress.
Let Go of Perfection
Perfection is the biggest enemy of “done.” If you are already stressed about meeting a deadline, adding the stress of perfection doesn’t make sense. The reality is, that perfect doesn’t exist. If you keep nitpicking every little detail, you will only miss more deadlines. So don’t invite the stress of perfection into your life.
Take a Break
If you are heads-down, working your tail off to meet a deadline, taking a break might be the last thing on your mind. This can be a dangerous mindset. Taking a break is a great way to re-energize and refocus to give maximum effort. It is also a chance to step back from the details and take an overall look at your progress.
Fast-Action Steps to overcome Deadline Stress
Look at your schedule or calendar and take stock of your current deadlines. If you have projects or tasks without a deadline, give them one.
Examine all of your deadlines. Are there any deadlines you can move? Is there a deadline you were too aggressive on? Tweak your deadlines where necessary and possible.
Do any of the deadlines worry you? If you can’t change a deadline that worries you, create a plan of attack to reach it. Then, figure out a step you can take towards it right now, and do it!
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