We all live in this fast-paced world influenced by the internet-speed culture as a result of which, we have become deadline-oriented, which has alarming costs. To say deadlines cause some stress, well, now that would be a gross understatement. Yes, it is true when some people say that this pressure of deadlines makes them more productive, but it is also true that many complain about the high level of anxiety and mental stress deadlines give them.
There are different types of deadlines, ones you set for yourself and ones that others set for you.
Two types of deadlines we tend to set for ourselves include:
• Rush Deadlines- We set these deadlines when we have only a limited time period to do something. These deadlines are also set by people who tend to procrastinate. Rush deadlines are somewhat part of everyone’s life be it student or adult.
• One-time Deadline- We set these deadlines for things that we need to do just once and that’s it. These deadlines are usually set for particular occasions like packing or shopping or even for studying for exams.
Now two types of deadlines that others set for us include:
• Phased Deadlines– These deadlines are set when we turn work into phases.
• Recurring Deadlines– These deadlines are set for long term work.
Why do deadlines beat us down?
There are many reasons why deadlines tend to give us so much stress and anxiety. These reasons include
- An unrealistic sense of how much time we need to complete a task
- Not having a good plan or list of priorities set
- Aiming for perfection, more than what is needed.
- Something else that can be added to this is having multiple deadlines around the same time, which can not only distract us but also create problems in focusing on a single task.
- Procrastination or getting distracted also causes a lot of pressure when we have deadlines.
- As the deadlines start coming closer our stress level usually starts to increase and all our work is done in haste.
Few ways to effectively handle stress caused by deadlines are-
- Break down your task or work into smaller, more approachable and achievable steps. Estimate how much time will it take you to complete them one by one and manage accordingly.
- Organizing and planning always plays in favor and helps in being more productive.
- Learning something about the project beforehand and also learning from our ways of managing other projects can help us.
- Make a priority list, start with something not so difficult to warm up, tackle the difficult ones after that and do the easiest ones at the end.
- When working or studying there is also a need for balance in working and actually resting. Take time off from work in forms of short breaks and don’t use any type of technology during that period, just give your brain time off. Meditation proves to be pretty helpful in these times.
- We try to avoid work stress by making unrealistic deadlines which become a burden and the very reason for our stress. So try being realistic about time management and also avoid Monday deadlines.
- Be it working on projects or assignments when the deadlines come close everyone goes on a sleepless mode and uses night time to get the work done. Yes, it is true that working some extra hours will get some work done, but not at the cost of one’s sleep. We should remember sleep is as important for our body as food, and lack of it can have some major negative impacts on our overall health.
Some other ways to handle stress of deadlines include tidying up the workstation or desk beforehand which will help in not distracting us and also cut clock-checking by 75%, as it might contribute to causing panic. Mental exhaustion, stress, and anxiety can be caused due to unrealistic and hard to achieve deadlines, which not only have a bad effect on our mental health but also harm our physical and emotional health.
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