Without denying November for me was/is (and probably always will be) one of the busiest months of a year at University, what is quite ironic as late autumn is associated with slower evenings (I wish!). Over years, I worked on methods to make deadlines my friend (How optimistic! I know).
I had a tendency to worry (just in case) and stress myself over things that are not worth it or that I have no or very little power to change. Do you know that feeling when deadline is approaching and you have not started the task? When do you start to get nervous? A day, week, maybe two weeks before the deadline? I would start a month and a half and then obviously I would get stressed (just because - clearly I had too much time on my hands).
The pressure to perform my best and push myself now motivates me but it was not always like that.
Start tasks ASAP
Instead of postponing tasks, I try to start them as soon as they have been assigned. Sometimes it is just careful consideration what is expected and checking resources for further time consumption estimation.
Easy Task First
I start day from completing easy task. List of things to do is shrinking (that really cheers me up), I can tick of first box (yay), and motivated by that I am moving to tasks that are more difficult. I have to say that very often they just seem more difficult.
15 minutes rule
I start a task and then give my best to do if for 15 minutes. If I am not progressing, thinking of a title for a blog post in 15 min is not what I call a progression, I move on. I stopped wasting my time for unproductive looking at the screen.
Take a break
If I feel particularly tired or have a headache, I tend to go for walks. Even 30 minutes outside can really help. There is also Pomodoro rule of 25 minutes per task. It might be more effective for you but it is a very personal choice and preference. You know best how your body and brain responds.
Switch it off
My phone notifications are off, despite the fact that I really want to check your newest Instagram photo. In addition, I do not check my emails or at least I try. Sometimes I break this rule for rather ridiculous reasons.
|Great gift for yourself if you want to unplug.|
I would rather spend an hour a day and finish task in a week. A little bit a day but every day rather than nothing for six days and then everything in one for example writing dissertation. Ten or more hours of doing one task, realistically I do not think I would produce equally good quality as when I assign an hour per day for it. I can only imagine how rushed, tired, and annoyed at the end of a twenty hours dissertation session I would be.
What are your ways to prepare for deadlines and cope with stress?