Everybody has to meet certain deadlines in life, and they can be very stressful. It can be hard to change your attitude about deadlines and make them work for you instead of against you.
You may find yourself procrastinating when facing a deadline and find you just don’t have the motivation to work. What do you do when you’re in this position? There are various ways to create deadlines that work for you.
Deadlines are stressful
When someone sets deadlines for you, it may not take into account how much work you need to do to complete a project or how much other work you have on your plate.
When you look at a looming deadline that you have little chance of meeting without working overtime, you can feel so stressed that you’re immobilized. Even deadlines you impose yourself can be stressful because you may not be that good at estimating the amount of time you need.
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Break large projects into smaller tasks
If bosses tend to set unrealistic deadlines, there is not much you can do except to address the issue with them. For self-imposed deadlines, breaking large projects into smaller tasks and setting a deadline for each task is more realistic and less stressful.
This makes a project far more approachable because you have very specific small tasks you can tackle. Spacing the deadlines evenly for each task can help you to see that you are making progress which gives you more incentive to reach the finish line.
Control your stress levels
Not all stress is bad. A certain amount of stress can motivate you because your body releases adrenaline which makes you more alert. It can make you feel alive mentally and physically, which can make you want to work. An easy task may require a higher level of stress to trigger mental arousal. More difficult tasks tend to be arousing enough on their own.
When you set deadlines, try setting rush deadlines for easy tasks. It is harder to concentrate on easy tasks when you’re bored because your prefrontal cortex isn’t cooperating as well.
Upping your stress level can make you more motivated to complete them. Give yourself more time when setting deadlines for difficult tasks. Controlling your stress levels in this way may give you the best results.
Set more urgent deadlines
Studies about deadlines conclude there is something known as the urgency effect. If your deadline is not that urgent, you tend to procrastinate because you think you have plenty of time. If your deadline is urgent, you are more motivated to complete a task.
Giving yourself a longer deadline can give you a cushion if you underestimate the time you need to complete a project. However, making a deadline more urgent can provide you with the intrinsic motivation you need. We are hard-wired to react quickly to an urgent matter.
Share your progress with others
Accountability to others can help you to meet your deadlines. If others in a team are depending upon you to progress and meet your goals, you are less likely to want to let them down. It will help to create a workflow that involves regularly sharing progress with your team. When you’re lacking motivation, others can help to inspire you and keep you going so you can meet your deadlines.
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