The clock is ticking, and you are not even halfway through your project. It’s almost midnight and still, no idea seems to pop up. You’re beginning to feel frustrated, anxious, and frantic. You check the calendar and find out that the presentation is due on Tuesday. OMG! That’s the day after tomorrow.
Be it work, school, or planning an event, everyone deals with deadlines. And most of the time, these deadlines can be so stressful that they affect one’s memory and cognitive functions. Studies show that people forget important details when they are stressed. Employees commit a lot of mistakes and become less productive if they are stressed. It is also believed that students who do their reports right before a deadline receive lower marks than students who do their assignments in advance.
People all over the world experience stress from deadlines every day. And people have different coping mechanisms when it comes to relieving stress from deadlines. Below are 12 ways to relieve stress, especially from dreadful deadlines.
How To Handle Deadline Stress
1. Start early
When you are given a task or assignment, do it right away. Oftentimes, people miscalculate the time they need to finish a report or project. Lots of unforeseen situations may happen just when you decide to start on a certain task. So while there is still time, grab the chance!
2. Ask for help
If the instructions aren’t clear, don’t hesitate to ask. You will be surprised to know that your professor or boss is willing to clarify your confusion. If you have friends who are willing to help, ask for their assistance. If you find a project overwhelming, ask someone to help you out. You don’t have to carry the weight alone. There will be a lot of people willing to help you out. All you need to do is ask.
Learn more: 8 Ways To Stop Bringing Work Stress Home
3. Be kind to yourself
This is one of the reasons why you have to start far ahead of the deadline. This way, you can treat yourself after you finish a task. A cup of hot coffee, a slice of chocolate cake, a relaxing massage, and a visit to a salon are just some of the rewards you can give yourself. By doing those things, you get a dose of motivation before jumping on to the next project.
4. Create sub-deadlines
A deadline on a deadline? Is that even possible? The answer is yes! If your boss or professor gave you a two-week deadline to submit four reports, all you have to do is divide the reports into smaller parts or tasks and complete each part on different days. With this method, you will be able to meet your deadline without rushing and/or feeling overwhelmed at the enormity of such a project.
5. Take short breaks
If you are in the middle of a project and feeling tired and/or stressed, try to release your tension by stretching. Sitting too long in front of the computer dampens your mood and energy. Stretching your arms, fingers, back, neck, and legs can help improve your mood and pumps up your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Short walks are also found to be beneficial in easing stress.
Try this relaxation exercise during your short break. This exercise helps you to relieve stress from deadlines.
6. Avoid nicotine and caffeine
Although smoking and drinking coffee seem relaxing, they will only elevate your mood temporarily. Once the effects of nicotine and caffeine wear off, you’ll feel even more anxious. So, the next time you feel stressed, refrain from smoking and drinking coffee. Instead, drink a glass of water, munch on some celery or carrot sticks, or eat an apple to give your mood and energy a boost.
7. Think positive
The “if-then” approach is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. It is a positive response towards an unpleasant situation. Instead of dwelling on the negativity, you can think or say, “If I finish my report today, then I have lots of time to work on other tasks” or “If my boss requested me to do a sudden presentation today, then I will gain another experience on impromptu proposals.”
Read more: Top 3 Benefits of Positive Self-Talk
8. Get to work or school early
Leave home as early as possible. This way, you will have enough time to relax and go about your morning routine before you start the day. Rushing can only add to the stress.
If you are on a tight schedule and have a lot of other reports pending, advise your boss for a realistic due date. Inform your supervisor that even if you want to submit the report on time, you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything important because you were rushing to finish it.
10. Treat each task as a new opportunity
When a project is already familiar to you, you tend to delay doing it. You should learn to treat each task as a new opportunity to learn something. With this kind of mindset, you’ll be more motivated to start early and work on projects without feeling pressured or stressed.
11. Get enough sleep
Inadequate sleep hampers your productivity and problem-solving skills. A person who didn’t get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep wakes up tired, irritated, and unmotivated. When you are tired, you are less likely to come up with a good decision at work.
Read more: 7 Ways To Get Rid Of Neck Pain From Sleeping Wrong
12. Just keep going
Believe it or not, stress has a negative effect on your self-confidence. When you are under stress, all you can think of are negative thoughts. You are constantly reminded that the deadline is near, and you are more likely to fail. Don’t let these pessimistic thoughts ruin your mood. Summon every ounce of your willpower to remove these thoughts as soon as they pop into mind. Also, do activities that will help you relax and stay motivated. Exercising, dancing, and singing can help lift your mood. Listening to music also helps decrease the body’s stress hormones.
Remember that there is nothing bad about having deadlines. Deadlines are naturally a part of life. Deadlines also help you push yourself to become a better individual, not just in terms of time management but also in terms of skills.
As mentioned, everyone’s stress management skills and coping mechanisms differ from one another; some may handle stress from deadlines easily just by taking a quick break, while others need support groups to deal with the situation. Yes, deadlines and deadline stress are inevitable. However, you can control how you how to avoid and handle deadline stress by applying the tips above.