Overcome Deadline Stress: 6 Quick Tips

Overcome deadline stress: We’ve all been there. That “Oh Crap” moment when we hear the trigger words – “This is due by….” One unique form of stress is deadline stress. Enter the sword of Damocles. The Germans even have a word for this: Torschlusspanik, which roughly translates to "fear of time running out."

Stress Trivia: It’s been discovered that when people are given a deadline, they tend to use the entire time they are given to complete the project. Rarely is any project completed well before the deadline. Humans are interesting.

Overcome Deadline Stress: 6 Quick Tips: 

1.   Set More Realistic Deadlines

When we are the ones setting the deadline, we tend to be overly optimistic. While this is a hard habit to break, you need to be more realistic. Setting reasonable deadlines will help to diminish stress levels. You are not superhuman. You can’t levitate or walk on water, so what makes you think you can complete a two-week project in one week? 

With this in mind, be sure not to procrastinate! Procrastination will reduce the time to your deadline and actually add to your stress!

2.   Make a Plan

Whether it’s your boss or yourself setting the deadline, coming up with a plan to meet that deadline is a must. When facing a tough deadline, break down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks with mini deadlines for each. Focus on the low-hanging fruit, the things you can control. Picking off the easiest tasks first will encourage you and give you the confidence to take on the more challenging ones. Be sure to devise your plan as soon as possible. This is a great way to overcome deadline stress.

3.  Tidy Up Your Workspace A clean workspace is an efficient one. A cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. If working at your desk requires a snorkel, you may want to consider some changes. Always take some time to tidy up your work area. You will have a better work environment making it easier to focus on your most important deadline.

4.   Focus on Your Inner Peace

Deadline stress is no different than other types of stress. Finding ways to lower this stress is of utmost importance. Focusing on your self-care and inner peace is the best way to do that. Exercise and meditation routines can help you achieve this peace. Your brain will slow down and help you think more clearly for the task at hand. Make mindfulness a priority in your everyday life. Doing so will make you more efficient in your other tasks.

5.   Let Go of Analysis Paralysis

Overthinking is one of my biggest enemies. I can “think myself” into the most complex rabbit holes. I can assure you, falling for this mind trap is no way to meet a deadline. So, it suffices to say that overthinking leads to analysis paralyses (aka: nitpicking) – and a potentially missed deadline.   

6.   Take a Break

 In addition to focusing on inner peace, it’s also important to zoom out and look at the big picture. I realize this must be the last thing on your mind. Taking a break, stepping back, and looking at the project from afar can help you acknowledge your progress, re-energize, and refocus.   I realize it can be a daunting task to overcome deadline stress.

The good news is that it is possible. Following these guidelines can definitely reduce that urge to run away and hide, or even procrastinate which, once again, will add even more stress to your life. Be sure to employ these suggestions the next time you are facing a scary deadline. I am confident you will be able to take control and emerge victorious. ~Ted

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