Got Deadline Overwhelm?

Cut Deadline Overwhelm with These Simple Steps

Got Deadline Overwhelm?
Photo by Elizabeth M

Cut Deadline Overwhelm with These Simple Steps

Got deadline overwhelm?

When you need to complete a project on a tight deadline or when you're running late and out of time, getting the work done can seem nearly impossible. You can't imagine how you're ever going to complete the work in time. It can also be really stressful. It doesn't matter if the deadline is self-imposed or issued by someone else. Sometimes our own personal deadlines can seem unrealistic once we get started. But surely, it can be done.  

With just a few steps, you can turn a seemingly impossible project into a doable one. Here's how to beat deadline overwhelm:

Map out your project. When you break a large project into small tasks, suddenly the project doesn't seem so daunting. You start to think it really is possible to complete the work on time.

Instead of thinking of a big project and how little time you have to complete it, divide out the work per day.

For instance, if I want to read a book in one week, I'll take the total page count and divide it by seven days. Then I'll write the page milestones for the seven days on a sticky note at the back of the book. That way, I focus on each day's goal or milestone. As I get through the reading, I cross off each milestone. It's a great morale booster because I can see that if I've kept up with the reading, by the end of Thursday, I only have two more milestones left to reach the end of the book.

If you want to write a novel in a month or six weeks, break down the project into daily and weekly goals. That's how NaNoWriMoers have been writing novels since 1999!

Once you've figured out what your daily and weekly milestones are, your next step is to make sure you actually do the work. Setting a goal won't help you accomplish it if you don't take action.

Sometimes getting a jump start and putting a lot of time into it right away can help you get ahead. If you're able to do that, keep working on it daily so you don't fall off the wagon after you realize you're so far ahead and think you can take the next two days off. That's where you can get into trouble. Taking time off can throw you off course and keep you from getting back into it after the break. Getting into the habit or routine is a must if you're going to stick with it to the finish line.

Remember, you'll settle for what is comfortable if you allow it. If you can get into the habit of writing (or whatever your activity is) every day, even for just 15 minutes, it will start to become second nature to you.

Break down the goal by the day, then set yourself a time limit so you're not taking up the whole day when it could really only take 15 minutes.

When we start to work toward our dreams and goals, we open new doors of opportunity. You never know which doors will open!

Jody Calkins
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