Deadlines don’t have to be daunting

When we hear (or think about) the word ‘deadline,’ we automatically go into panic mode. There’s an aura of pressure and dread surrounding deadlines and I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it’s because everyone else around you will usually stress out at the mention of deadlines. Perhaps it’s because a date is set in stone and you will be penalized if you don’t meet it. Or maybe it’s just the way the mind works. Who knows?

I’m here to tell you that deadlines don’t have to be daunting. There’s no need to get yourself worked up at the mention of a deadline – there are other ways to deal with it.

Plan ahead, for example. If you have been given a strict deadline, why not give yourself another (personal) deadline before the final one? This gives you time to play around with, takes the pressure off a little, and means you won’t have the additional stress of everyone else stressing around you when it’s due. Plus, you’ll feel organised and ahead of your game, and as a result will be able to focus on other things more easily too. There’s nothing worse than having too much on your plate all at once. Setting yourself a personal deadline is definitely a wise thing to do.

Alternatively, find yourself a ‘study buddy’. Sometimes having a friend or colleague to work with can make the world of a difference; it feels like a social call but you get things done at the same time. You can offer one another feedback, proof read one another’s work, help one another out. This helps to keep you focused and takes the pressure off a little too. The best place to do this is in coffee shops or the library!

Other suggestions on how to make deadlines less daunting are to write a to-do-list (focus on one thing at a time, tick it off as you go along, don’t try and do too much all at once), don’t leave it all until last minute, find a safe space to work in and reward yourself every time you get something productive done.

By Charlene McElhinney