Feel Cool and Collected Under a Deadline
The clock is ticking, and you are not anywhere near close to being done with that super important project for your top client. The pressure is mounting, the clock continues to tick, and a sense of panic settles in... What do you do?
If that scenario sounds familiar, follow these tips to stop deadline stress from sending you into a panic.
Clean Your Desk
It may seem counterintuitive to stop to tidy to your desk at a time like this, but a clean desk gives you a fresh start and a clean mind. Put away everything that won't help you complete your project to limit distractions and focus your mind on the task ahead.
Block Out Time
If your task list seems never-ending, break it into smaller chunks. Instead of committing to working straight through to the completion of the project, dedicate a few hours at a time with breaks in between. You'll more likely stay on task and feel renewed after you take a break for an hour or so.
The greatest distractions may not be on your desk – they may be in your pocket. Turn off your cell phone so you are not tempted to stray away from business with Candy Crush, Facebook or Twitter.
Take a Break
When stress really starts to eat at you, give yourself a break. Stepping away from work for just five minutes can make a tremendous difference, and simply looking away from the screen can help you feel renewed.
Get an Outside Perspective
When you feel stuck and a deadline keeps creeping closer and closer, talk to someone else. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can see what you cannot, and a brief chat about the project can illuminate a new direction or solution to whatever is making you feel stuck.
If getting an outside perspective does not work, try relieving your stress by actually getting outside! Breathe in the fresh air, take a stroll around the block to get your endorphins going and take a few minutes to focus on something other than the task at hand.
This tip may sound strange, but it really works. When the stress of a deadline is really getting to you, remind yourself about why you are tackling the project. Think about the passion that drew you to your job, why the client trusts you to handle it and how you have managed difficulties in the past. Keep repeating these reasons and thoughts until you have the motivation, creativity and productive drive to get it done.