As companies continue to downsize and expect more from their workers, it’s important to learn how to handle work deadlines effectively and cope with stress quickly. Those who can meet deadlines every time will rise to the top of the corporate ladder, but they will also have to learn better ways to deal with the mental strain that comes with it. Fortunately, achieving those deadlines can, on its own, help reduce some of that stress.
Ways to handle work deadlines
There’s no tried and true method for dealing with deadlines that will work for everyone, but there are certain strategies that most people will be able to incorporate into their work. Everyone needs to find what’s best for them, possibly making alterations to fit their particular situation.
1. Make a list
Whether writing them down on a calendar or pad of paper or using an application on a smart phone or tablet computer, maintaining a list of due dates, as well as any communications dealing with that project and expected results, is essential. One of the leading causes of stress in work is not being aware of when projects are due or who is responsible for what aspect. Keeping a list for each project can reduce this stressor.
2. Make a schedule
Determine when certain benchmarks of a project are due and write them on a schedule. If multiple projects are being worked at once, be sure to prioritize the due dates and put them in order. Many people find it helpful to check off when each benchmark is completed, since this shows progress being made.
3. Seek help
While it may seem like exhibiting weakness in the workplace, asking co-workers for help can be a far better option compared to banging one’s head against the wall when encountering a problem on deadline. A fresh perspective may be all the situation needs. When there is a real time crunch, asking fellow employees for help with certain tasks can get the job back on track.
Despite the name, deadlines many times can be negotiable, especially if a good reason is given. When faced with a logical argument as to why the deadline could not be met, clients may agree to a small extension of time. However, making a habit of missing deadlines may point to a need to reorganize the work flow.
Other ways to beat stress in the workplace…
While handling deadlines can help reduce some of the stress of the job, it will not completely eliminate it. There are other methods to ease mental strain, which can also improve job efficiency. Excessive stress can also have mental and physical impacts.
Though it may be difficult, engaging in aerobic activity can improve one’s mood, boost energy levels and sharpen focus. Experts suggest at least 30 minutes of exercise that raises the heart rate. If that is too difficult to fit into the schedule, break it up into a couple of 15 minute sessions, or even three sessions lasting 10 minutes each.
When most people are on tight deadlines, they choose to eat lunch or dinner out of a fast food sack. Eating right can also reduce stress because low blood sugar can make one feel irritable and anxious. Eating small meals more frequently can help maintain a steady level of blood sugar, which improves focus and increases energy. Snacks of fruits and vegetables are healthy alternatives to sugary munchies.
7. Watch commitments
Whenever possible, avoid scheduling due dates that are back to back. Allowing time between ending one project and starting another will allow the brain to decompress and get ready to start the next task. It also provides time for the focus to shift to the next schedule and increases your chances to handle work deadlines more effectively.
8. Get to work earlier
Rather than running around like crazy in the morning and rushing to the desk, try to leave 10-15 minutes earlier so coming to work can be a more pleasurable experience. Running late can add to stress levels.
9. Take breaks
Be sure to plan short breaks throughout the day that can help clear the mind. Take a walk around the outside of the office, or simply sit back for a few minutes. Getting away from the workstation during lunch breaks can be very helpful.
Stress in small doses can actually be a good thing as it provides energy and motivation to complete a task. When it becomes excessive, however, it can have negative effects on a person’s body and mind, reducing their energy levels, limiting their focus and impacting sleep patterns. Extreme levels of stress can lead to depression and physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease.
Finding ways to meet project goals efficiently and handle your work deadlines with ease can help reduce stress and double your productivity and improve your health. Making deadlines is certainly less stressful than not doing so. Achieving that goal may require changing some work and living patterns and even asking for assistance from other employees. But it is well worth the effort!
This is a guest post by Andrea Thompson of stagdoideas.net.