Struggling with deadlines happens to us all, but having a playbook for handling deadlines helps tremendously. To make deadlines less stressful, don’t even think about procrastinating. And don’t take on more than you can get done.
Start Immediately & Set Up Project
Once you have an assignment, start immediately, even if it’s only to break the job into pieces. By starting immediately and getting a handle on what must be done when, you’ve taken the “daunting” fear out of the deadline.
Allocate time to work on the project each day. This forces you to give the project priority and forces you into a project routine that precludes leaving the project to the last minute.
Make Deadlines Visible
If you work on your own, keep a prominently visible list of all your deadlines. If you have a team, have a place in your office where all of your team’s deadlines are visible. This ensures that no one on the team can claim, “I didn’t know,” because the deadlines are there to be checked daily. If you are the one team member holding everyone up, it will become very clear and very embarrassing.
Exercise Daily & Take Regular Breaks
Physical exercise increases your energy level and triggers your brain for the next round. Some people work an hour, then walk for 15 minutes, doing this all day long until the assignment is complete.
It’s good to get up, stretch, move, drink water and make sure that you get enough sleep. Without a routine for caring for yourself, producing quality work is difficult.
Make a Commitment
Routine is powerful. So is commitment. Make it part of your routine to never miss a deadline, no matter what. Also commit to addressing problems as they pop up. This goes a long way to relieving stress and getting a good night’s sleep, even when driven by deadlines.
Remember mapping out your own success means removing any obstacle that comes your way, so that you can be productive. This practice also removes undue stress. Experiment and find what combination of things works best for you when it comes to reducing deadline stress.