10 Approaches You Can Use To Minimize Deadline Stress by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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We all have deadlines—and we often dread them. They are one of the biggest sources workplace stress, and for good reason: There seems to always be one lurking around the corner.

It’s not uncommon get stressed out by a looming project. However, there are ways to better handle approaching deadlines. Below, 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members shared their methods for embracing deadlines and making them work with you. Here is what they advise trying:

Members share a few approaches you can use to lessen deadline stress.

Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Always Have A Plan

The saying is true: fail to plan and you can plan to fail. Having an extremely buttoned up project plan at the outset of any new engagement is the key to success. It’s a guarantee that scope will change and you can plan accordingly for it. It’s ideal to have your client buy into and sign off on the project plan so that they commit to the collaboration ahead. This way, you know what the deadlines are and can plan around them. The unforeseen will inevitably happen, and the more you’re buttoned up on controlling what you can, the easier it will be to hit your deadlines. I noticed that when I had a written plan to reference that laid out deliverables, stakeholders and resources needed, I found myself in far fewer deadline-related stress situations. - Joel MathewFortress Consulting

2. Identify Your Deadline Issues

If deadlines stress you out because you typically run into deadline issues, you need to identify what those issues are in order to prevent them from happening again. For instance, are you procrastinating or getting distracted? If you find that’s the case then you can take the steps to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore. You could solve those issues by creating a schedule for yourself and removing distractions. Maybe you’re being too much of a perfectionist. You might find that your boss prefers a project that’s handed in on time over one that’s perfect, so adjust the way you work accordingly. Identify your issues and you’ll be one step closer to ending deadline stress. - Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

3. Give Yourself Buffer Time

I always schedule my deadline to be sooner than the actual due date. Regardless of what system you use, if you wait until the last minute, then you are setting yourself up for a disaster. You should always allow a buffer of additional time in case the work takes longer than anticipated or if unexpected events occur. In my industry, we have a lot of deadlines—the legal system has strict time requirements for almost everything we do. By setting the deadline a few days prior to the actual due date, we provide ourselves with some much-needed cushion. Not only does the buffer provide more time to complete the task, but it also helps to eliminate stress and prevents staying all night at the office on the eve of a deadline. - Matthew PodolskyFlorida Law Advisers, P.A.

4. Complete The Hardest Tasks First

If you have a substantial business project with a hard deadline and you want to avoid feeling anxious about completing it, my advice is to get the hard stuff out of the way as quickly as possible. Procrastinating on the most difficult aspects of a time-sensitive project is a recipe for disaster and you’ll feel much better if you take care of them when you still have plenty of time to do so. Think of it like ripping off a Band-Aid: It’s better to deal with all of the pain quickly instead of torturing yourself over a long period of time. - Bryce WelkerBeat The CPA

5. Break Down Your Project Into Mini Deadlines

Trying to tackle all aspects of a big project can be a bit overwhelming. Not only will you be all over the place, but you might also be overlooking important tasks as well. The best way is to divide your project into smaller steps. Let’s take writing a book as an example. Set a start and completion date for each chapter or page (if you want to set even smaller goals), and make sure to treat it as a high priority while scheduling your day’s tasks. Also, you have to make sure that you’re being realistic about the time you have set for each chapter or page. Factor in possible delays so you’ll never miss your mini-deadlines. And remember to communicate with your client, project partner or team once you have completed each step. – Kyle GoguenPawstruck

6. Find An Accountability Partner

If you want to avoid stressing out about deadlines, find an accountability partner or partners. This is easier if your company has cultivated a transparent culture of accountability, with shareable workflow options or daily status meetings where teams update their progress and any challenges they’ve encountered. If you’re a freelancer, you could join freelance groups online or in person and hold each other accountable that way. Soon, deadlines will become an excuse to have great conversations and to stay connected with others. – Shu SaitoFact Retriever

7. Break Down The Time Each Task Takes

If you’re going to create a strategy that helps you manage your time better, you need to first take note of where that time is going. Write down what tasks you’re working on and how long they take so you have a good idea of where too much time is being spent and where there’s not enough. This will help you determine a realistic, doable timeline consisting of tasks that you know you can complete on a time budget. You might start to see a pattern of time wasted on tasks that could be spent more fruitfully in other areas of your business. For those, you can hire an assistant or look into marketing automation so that software can automate your boring tasks. - Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

8. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking sounds great in practice. Who doesn’t want to get multiple parts of their project complete at the same time? The reality though is that multitasking is an elusive skill that not many people can pull off effectively. Instead of trying to get everything done at once when I’m stressed about a deadline, I work on pieces of the project, one at a time. As I complete each task I mark it off my daily list and that’s how I generally stay on track with all of my deadlines. - Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

9. Be Realistic About The Work You Can Take On

Deadlines come daily in my business, and so the best way I handle them is to be realistic about what we can manage and what we can’t. If the team is overloaded with work and I know we can’t meet a specific deadline for a client, then I will not allow them to take it on. Quality is paramount in an agency. When the work starts to decline, the client won’t be happy, which impacts relationships all around. - Kristin Kimberly MarquetFem Founder

10. Catch Up, Cope And Complete the Challenge

Stress itself is a motivation to fulfill an obligation, a sense of urgency that compels you to move. However, it can be a struggle to mark something done every single time. Over time, the constant act of catching up and worrying becomes an unwanted chronic stressful condition. As long as deadlines effectively compel you, they won’t go away anytime soon. When possible, proactively work out more feasible timelines with the parties involved. Provide regular updates on your progress to manage expectations. It also helps to establish “life outside work”—e.g., a hobby, workout or recreational activity unrelated to your profession—which provides the perfect distraction. Also, try to get as much sleep to be mentally prepared for work and hopefully finish everything before or by the due dates. - Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

July 9, 2019 at 01:17PM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/07/09/10-approaches-you-can-use-to-minimize-deadline-stress/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
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