Two months ago you were assigned an essay worth 30% of your total course grade. Brimming with confidence you told yourself, “Easy enough. I have tons of time.”Now it’s due tomorrow and it’s already 10 pm.
When asked yesterday if you were on track, “No problem” was your autonomic response. Now it’s close to lunchtime and that project that you told your boss would be ready at 4 pm looks very similar to a blank screen.
Where did the time go? More importantly, what are you going to do? How are you going to get it done?
Being a University student and a freelance writer I’ve experienced that overwhelming anxiety that comes with an impending deadline. How do you defeat deadline anxiety before it defeats you? Here are my tricks:
- BREAK IT DOWN!
Break the project up into small steps and set deadlines for each. Feeling a sense of accomplishment along each step of the way will keep you motivated to keep moving forward.
- MAKE YOUR WORK SPACE WORK FOR YOU.
If you’re at a desk, remove anything on it that you don’t need to complete your task. Less clutter equals less distraction.
If you think a coffee shop is the ideal place to work, think again. Eavesdropping on the gossip being discussed behind you or the distraction of a cute barista is enough to diminish your productivity. Consider setting up camp at the library instead.
Periscope pop-ups, Twitter notifications and the constant urge to check Facebook are unrelenting distractions. Think of social media as a black hole: once you’re sucked in, there’s no coming out. Turn your phone off and toss it in your bag. Better yet, toss it out the window!
- KEEP ENERGIZED
Keep a can of BOMB Energy Drink close by for when you start slipping. The temporary relief it provides from fatigue and the enhancement to mental focus may make the difference between meeting or missing a deadline.
For added pep, get up and do a dozen jumping jacks. You might look ridiculous, but at this point you can’t afford to care!
- TAKE A BREAK.
If you’ve been frozen in the same position for ten minutes or more, you may have hit a wall. It may sound counter-intuitive but taking a break might help. A quick walk may be just what you need to get the creative juices following again.
- EAT RIGHT.
There are times when eating an entire pizza by yourself is acceptable, but this is not one of them. Snacks like nuts, fruit, and granola bars will give you the fuel to keep going.
- STAY POSITIVE
Nelson Mandela once said “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” The only way you’re going to do the impossible is if you believe it’s possible. Keep your chin up and power through!