How to Minimize Stress When a Deadline Approaches

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Deadlines can be stressful. But, you can manage that stress by staying organized, having a plan, and being realistic about your workload. If you’re the kind of person who gets stressed out by deadlines at work, these tips can help you manage your stress and accomplish your task in a timely fashion. If you take time to minimize stress ahead of time, you can focus on your tasks at hand.

3 Steps to Help Minimize Stress When a Project is Due

Have a Plan

Start by making a plan for accomplishing your task by the deadline. Break your task down into various milestones, and set dates for each milestone to be achieved. By setting dates and having a plan, you make the work easier to manage and can avoid missing your deadline. Set the plan in writing. This makes it easier to work out any problems with your plan, and can help you stay on task.

If you start to fall behind, make a plan to catch up – or get an extension. Don’t wait to the last minute to ask for the extension, as you may find that it’s harder to get an extension once the deadline is close. Getting the extension early can minimize stress in other ways too – everything is more stressful if you’re constantly thinking about how you might miss your deadline.

Give Yourself Buffer

If possible, plan to finish your task before the deadline. Knowing that your plan is to finish your task early can help you sleep better at night, especially if you’re able to stick to your goals and finish the milestones on time.

If you don’t have time to give yourself a buffer, communicate this problem with your supervisor in advance, so they’ll be prepared in the event that you have to ask for an extension. Communicating problems early on can give you a sense of how important your deadline is, so you’ll know how to prioritize your project.

Be Realistic

Don’t take on more than you can manage. Be realistic about your schedule and your current workload. If a project seems like it will be too much for you to handle, tell your boss, coworkers or supervisor clearly and directly.

Don’t beat around the bush. If you’re having a hard time admitting that your schedule and workload is too tight to take on this project or finish it by the deadline, try practicing what you want to say before you actually try to say it.


About the Author: Kathryn Elwell grew up in the Midwest. She has experience in management and human resources, and has been writing on these topics and more for 12 years. 

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