Tips for Handling and Avoiding Deadline Stress at Work
Employees in many industries may experience anxiety about meeting their various deadlines. Whether they set their own deadlines or managers prescribe them, having a timeline to finish a project or task can cause unnecessary stress. Learning some different stress-management techniques you might use when you have a deadline can help improve your mood, focus and productivity. In this article, we discuss tips you can use when managing deadline stress in the workplace.
18 tips for avoiding or handling deadline stress
Here are some tips you can use to handle deadline stress:
1. Practice meditation
When feeling stressed, you may consider breathing techniques or meditation. These practices can help slow your heart rate and help you focus. Meditation often helps to remove you from thoughts, reminding you to be present in the moment instead of constantly thinking about deadlines and other stressors.
2. Create smaller goals
Creating smaller tasks that contribute to your larger goals can help you reduce deadline stress. With this, you can focus on one small responsibility at a time until you complete your project. Consider estimating the time it might take to complete all the individual tasks to ensure you have enough time to complete everything before the deadline.
3. Create earlier deadlines
Creating earlier deadlines can help give you extra time on tasks. With this, you can aim to complete tasks earlier than when they’re due. If you need additional time when you reach your earlier deadline, you’ll have the needed time and you can avoid missing the real deadline.
4. Learn organizational skills
Being organized can help you become more productive and feel less stressed. Having your files, contact information and other details in an organized location can ensure you can access everything you need for a project. Organizational skills may also include how you prioritize and handle your tasks, so consider creating to-do lists with information like priorities and the time and resources needed.
5. Find positivity
When feeling stressed, you may only focus on the negatives of a situation. By considering what you’re doing well, you can develop a more positive attitude while striving to meet deadlines. You may also visualize the outcome of tasks. This can help you think beyond the tasks you need to do and think of the results, which might improve your mood.
6. Research your task
Deadline stress might occur if you feel you need more information or time to complete something. Researching the details of your task can help you find ways you might improve your efficiency and skills for your task. Also, consider researching past similar projects to better estimate the time it could take to complete tasks.
7. Create priorities
There are several ways to prioritize tasks when you have to meet a deadline. You might prioritize the most challenging tasks first, so as the deadline approaches, you only have to complete simple tasks. You might also prioritize the tasks that require the most resources or input, saving tasks you can complete independently for last. When prioritizing tasks, you can also analyze your various deadlines and decide which are the most important to meet.
Exercise can release hormones that can ease stress in your mind. Consider starting a morning or evening workout routine. This can help you begin or end each day with a clear mind, which can improve your focus, productivity and overall mood.
9. Focus on what you can control
Some people might have deadline stress about aspects of a project outside of their control, like technology and other people’s contributions. By focusing on the tasks for which you’re responsible, you may reduce stress. The components of a project you can control include your effort and responses. High effort and calm, thoughtful responses can help you feel satisfied during and after the project.
10. Take breaks
Though you may hope to work through a lunch hour or other breaks to reach a deadline, taking breaks can reduce your stress. This allows you to clear your head and return to work with more focus and energy. Consider going for brief walks throughout the day to maintain this balance.
11. Write your options
Writing can help you process information and organize your thoughts. Consider writing the options you can take to meeting a deadline, what tools you might use or who can assist you. With this information, you might also include a written plan that includes what you will do throughout each day to achieve your goal. This can help you focus on the steps instead of stressing about the deadline.
12. Be honest
Being honest with your goals and deadlines means setting realistic expectations for yourself. You may hope to impress your manager by agreeing to deadlines and showing your efficiency, but creating a realistic plan can help ensure you don’t experience unnecessary stress. Consider adding time when estimating the time it takes to complete certain tasks to ensure you set honest goals.
13. Set deadline days
Setting specific deadlines can help you develop a routine. This could reduce deadline stress. Consider setting or committing to deadlines between Tuesday and Thursday, so you have time to complete and review tasks the day before they’re due.
14. Ask for help
Asking for help from your manager and colleagues can help relieve stress. Evaluate what people or tools you might need to make the deadline seem more achievable. Asking for help can also show your ability to understand the needs of different tasks and your commitment to meeting deadlines.
15. Recognize your achievements
While completing tasks that contribute to a goal, celebrate each milestone. Recognizing your achievements can encourage you to maintain a positive attitude throughout the project. Consider crossing off items from your to-do list to remind yourself of your accomplishments throughout. This could keep you motivated.
16. Reduce your distractions
Consider different ways you can remove distractions at work so you can focus on your tasks. Avoiding distractions can help you work more efficiently and minimize how much time you might spend stressing over a deadline. Consider covering your clock, too, so you can focus on your work without constantly checking the time and calculating how much time you have left.
17. Organize your workspace
Organizing your workspace can help you avoid distractions and increase your productivity. This can ensure you have the tools and files you need easily. With a messy workstation, you might see this as another task that you have to complete, while a clean desk encourages focus.
18. Get rest
Sleep can improve your mental clarity and ability to focus. Even if you work extra hours to meet a deadline, going to sleep earlier can refresh you for the next day. Consider scheduling rest time along with the tasks you need to complete so you can maintain a regular sleep schedule and meet your deadlines.