I have very strong reactions when “deadline” is mentioned – I get terrible flashbacks of sleepless nights, copious amounts of caffeine, stress and anxiety. I am certain that I am not the only one who feels this way, because deadlines are scary and I have yet to meet someone who associates that word with anything positive. Which is why I feel that it is important to try and learn how to deal with deadlines, since it’s something that no one is going to be able to escape from – hence me writing this blog post. However, I did not want it to be one of those “guides” that you find everywhere on the Internet, with tips like “make sure you sleep enough” or “too much caffeine won’t help you,” because I have never found them useful. Instead, I want to share with you the things that I personally do when deadlines are getting closer that take some of the stress away.
- Just get started – It might sound very obvious, but getting started is usually the toughest step for me. Seeing all the work piling up, knowing that I am slowly running out of time gets me so scared that I end up putting it off even longer. It’s a vicious cycle, which only ends when I manage to get myself to sit down at my desk and start working.
- Don’t abandon your work – Just because I get started does not always result in getting my work done. It still feels overwhelming at times, and that’s when I get the strong urge to take a break for a while (this “while” usually turns into a whole day). Which is why l have become a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique – I chose one of the many things I am have to work on, and set a timer for half an hour, in which I only focus on the task at hand. It usually manages to get me going and insures that I do not give up what I started (or, at least ,for half an hour).
- Avoid distractions – Over the years, I have become a bit too in love with my social media accounts, which I check religiously. This is especially the case when I know I should be focusing on work. My almost impulsive need to check my phone, go on Facebook, or complete that very important Buzzfeed quiz that will tell me what kind of cheese I am according to my astrological sign, is always what turns a 5 minute break into a 15 minute one. I feel like the best way to solve this would be to use one of those boxes with a timed lock so that you can’t get your phone out until the time is up, but since I don’t have such a technological wonder, I have to resort to the old-fashioned technique of leaving my phone in another room, or putting it somewhere out of my reach (which usually means at the back of my closet, because that place is a mess).
- Take naps – This is by far my favourite thing to do during deadlines. I work best late at night, after dinner. However, I am a huge worrier, and I always feel the need to wake up as early as I can in the morning, to get a head start on the day. This usually means that, by the afternoon, I am falling asleep standing up. Which is why I love naps so much – they allow me to take a break from my work, and get that much-needed rest. No amount of caffeine will ever help me as much as naps do.
- Don’t forget to eat – I have been told there are two types of people when it comes to eating during stressful situations, those who don’t eat anything, and those who eat everything. I fall into the former category – I tend to forget to leave time for meals when deadlines are looming over my head, and I end up only snacking on sweets and chocolate throughout the day. No one has come out and said it to my face, but I am aware that it is a bad habit. Which is why now, whenever I have to get through stressful periods like deadlines, I begin my day by making time for my meals, and usually setting alarms so I don’t forget. It at least gives me the impression that I am taking care of myself, so I can feel like a proper adult amid all the chaos caused by stress.
While these things might not guarantee you smooth sailing through deadlines, I hope that they at least give you a reassuring feeling that you are not alone when you feel like you are being swallowed up by the amount of work you have to get through. I wish you the best of luck with it!