There are no tried and true methods for deadlines that will work for everyone when it comes to dealing with deadline stress, but there are certain strategies most people can implement into their work lives that they will find useful. It’s up to you to find which method works best for you and how to incorporate it into your daily work life to stay cool and calm when the deadline is looming.
Set a Schedule
Determine when certain portions of a project are due and set them up on a project timeline. If you’re dealing with multiple projects (and deadlines) simultaneously, remember to prioritize due dates by completing them in order. A lot of people find it encouraging to check off tasks as they are completed as this shows they are making progress and on track to meet their deadline.
Make a List
Get out your trusty notepad or favorite list-making phone app and get busy making a list. Jot down who’s in charge of what, expected results of the project, and ideas for getting everything completed on time. One of the biggest causes of deadline stress is being unaware of who is in charge of what aspect of the project and when that portion of the project should be completed by.
Setting back-to-back deadlines is like shooting yourself in the foot. Whenever possible, avoid doing so and give yourself a little breathing room between projects. This will give your brain time to decompress, prepare for the next task, and shift focus. Avoiding back-to-back deadlines will also increase your ability to handle deadlines more effectively.
Show Up for Work Early
Running late only adds to stress when a deadline is approaching. Try arriving to work 10 to 15 minutes early every day of the week you deadline is due to ensure everything is in order and will be completed on schedule. This will make for a much more pleasurable experience for both you and your co-workers.
Give Yourself a Break
Finally, don’t be afraid to take breaks. You need short breaks throughout the work day to help clear your head. Go for a walk outside the office, visit your favorite sandwich shop for lunch, just close your eyes for 30 seconds and breathe; schedule little moments to help keep your stress levels low.
A little bit of stress can actually be good for motivation and an energy rush when you absolutely need to get things done. But too much stress can sabotage the deadline you have to meet. Finding a balance between the two is the key to coping with deadline stress and doing your best at work.