Deadlines don’t take prisoners. Here’s how to deal with deadline stress in 5 steps!
There it is, looming up in the distance like a Lovecraftian monolith waiting to devour your soul—leaving you a quivering, crying mess in the corner of your mind’s abyss. Or, you know, just making you stress out a bit.
Deadlines may not seem all that bad to some folks, but a lot of people aren’t those people. And if you count yourself among the legions who stare at the calendar in despair, you desperately need to know how to deal with deadline stress. Hey, it’s hard enough to cope with everyday pressure.
You could bury your head in the sand and hope that menacing deadline doesn’t notice you. But we all know that deadlines see everything, and hiding won’t do you a lick of good.
It's best to face the beast head-on. Here are 5 ways to slay that monster while handling the Scaries like a boss:
1. Sleep on it
Many people’s response to deadlines (or any kind of stress) is to stay awake and beat at the problem until it’s tackled. But this approach might not be helping ‘em out a single bit. In fact, it’s making things worse; the American Psychological Association reports that American adults don't get enough sleep, and many individuals "report that their stress increases when the length and quality of their sleep decreases.”
Not only can a lack of sleep do more mental damage, but it also may take you longer to complete the project. Another issue? You might make silly, sleep-deprived mistakes.
Sure, it can be hard to sleep when a deadline’s hiding under the bed, but we make products that will help you chill and find some Zen before you ever lay your head down.
So, though you may feel crunched for time with a looming deadline, the main takeaway here is that you need your ZZZs, bro. Unless the deadline is tomorrow morning, that is.
In that case, make some coffee and get on that s***!
How to deal with deadline stress tip 2: prioritize!
Stress amplifies if we don’t have a clear timeline to completion and a good understanding of the project. If you don’t break down the one big goal into smaller, achievable ones, then it’s a huge beast to slay. You need some smaller prey to pop off one at a time.
So, how do you prioritize? Pretty simple: make a list of all the tasks needed to complete the project, and then organize them from most important to least important. Or order things by those you think will take the most time to those that will be completed quickly. Now that you have some bite-sized pieces, you can knock ‘em down easy.
The good news? Once you see items being crossed off the list, it will make you feel more confident. Nothing beats the warm, fuzzy feeling of victory.
3. Be honest about the due date—with yourself and others
Don’t sit quietly and stress TF out if you know a due date isn’t realistic. If you’re certain the project will take longer, communicate that concern and negotiate a more realistic timeline. Of course, don’t let your stress speak for you. Take a look at the details and be honest about whether you need more time or not.
Stress amps up as the leviathan approaches—especially if that short turnaround includes a lot of work. If the deadline wasn’t realistic in the first place—or legit circumstances have made it so—there’s no sense freaking out about the impossible.
That’s a recipe for failure and overwhelm.
4. Affirm the future you want
There are times there’s nada we can do about a deadline. In these cases, stress fills us with a lot of negative talk and destructive emotions. Try changing your perspective a bit, even if you don’t believe any happy talk—at first.
Tell yourself you can do it, or ask yourself how you can do it. Make up that list from tip #2, and get to work with your “I got dis!” mantra. Before you know it, you’ll believe it. Why?
Because you’re marking tasks off that list. And you’re watching the project take shape before your very eyes. Progress is motivating, and projects often seem insurmountable because we’re not sure where to begin. But beginning anywhere (after a positive pep-talk) kicks the ol’ motivation machine into gear.
5. Slow down. Be reflective.
Uh, ok. How can you be intentional and thoughtful when stress is doing cartwheels across your brain? Here are three ways to chill that jerky little gymnast of destruction:
- Listen to calming music or other soothing sounds. Chill music puts the mind at rest. And there’s a reason so many people listen to white noise or nature sounds while studying. The chill effect can get you in the right frame of mind to get s*** done!
- Think of everything you’ve already accomplished. By now, you’ve probably gotten a few things crossed off your list. Instead of thinking of the mountain of work before you, take a second to consider the mountain (or medium-sized hill) of stuff you’ve already completed. It shows you how far you’ve come in a short amount of time, thus reaffirming essential badassery.
- Take a breath. Seriously, breathe! Don’t hyperventilate. Close your eyes. Relax your shoulders and your jaws, and just breathe. Feel the stress melt away as you focus your thoughts on the moment. Little meditations can help conquer the Scaries so that you can get back to work with a clear mind. Here are some more tips on how to do that.
A bonus tip on how to deal with deadline stress: CBD, of course!
CBD is something we swear by (obv!) to hobble racing thoughts and combat excessive worry—including the Scaries that stem from those deadlines under the bed.
In essence, dealing with deadline stress means changing your mindset. And trying the tips above, plus some of our favorite cannabinoids, can do just that.
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