Beating deadline stress

Deadlines are stressors.

By definition, and as explained by Psychologist Dr. Renz Argao, stressors are those that require us to respond to change, challenges, threats, or demands; deadlines could be challenging, demanding, and sometimes, threatening, especially when there’s poor Internet connection, or when you have teammates who decide to get on the task only at the last minute.

Dr. Renz explained that stress is normal in manageable amounts, but detrimental to our mental and physical health when excessive. 

Stress becomes a problem when it makes you unable to complete your tasks and responsibilities, when it becomes too overwhelming that you often lose your cool, and when it results in sudden changes in behaviour or leads to negative coping.

To better manage the stress caused by deadlines, here are some tips from Dr. Renz.

  1. Plan the  day and the rest of the week in advance.

Effective planning is important. You can make use of your artsy planners and journals for this task, or use digital applications such as Calendars, Timely, Workflow, Shift, Rescue Time, MyLifeOrganized, and Google Keep.

Planning is one of the best ways to organize a task. It helps determine objectives, unmissed deadlines, and achieve anticipated results. It gives the opportunity to manage time accurately and prepare for uncertainty. 

Without effective planning, your tasks are at risk. Remember that compliance and outputs are embedded to your reputation and career prospects.

  1. Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance.

Remember that not everything is a priority. When you are facing a lot of tasks, determine when you need to complete each task and which ones will take longer to accomplish. It is necessary to know that urgency and importance is not the same. Urgency is defined by external factors such as time sensitive requests from coworkers. On the other hand, importance depends on our target goals. One way of organizing tasks is the Eisenhower Matrix.

Illustration by TechTello

    The four quadrants show the level of importance and urgency of tasks. It helps to save time and effort for long-term goals. A continuous application of the Eisenhower Matrix ensures greater productivity in the long run.

    If the task is urgent and important, you have to do it immediately. If it is not urgent but important, you need to decide and schedule it. Then, if it is urgent but not important, you need to delegate the task. And, if it is not urgent and not important, declutter or eliminate it from your plans for the day.

  1. Break down tasks – big to small.

Split the tasks into pieces and parts to reduce its overwhelming effect. it not You will enjoy doing the task more if you see it as doable by its components and not as grand as it seems to be.

  1. Use time-management techniques.

An example of this is the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes work followed by a 5-minute break. After four (4) Pomodoro cycles, take a longer break for about 20-30 minutes. This helps to boost productivity, especially if you are fond of procrastinating since it assists to structure your tasks. Remember to set a timer to help you with this technique!

  1. Identify your energy and productivity windows.

Alongside effective time management, make sure to manage your energy as well. Every person has different energy and productivity windows. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Determine which one you are. To make your time more productive, it is important to arrange your tasks around the energy window that you have. Don’t force yourself to work at the time you’re not comfortable with because the task will take longer to accomplish.

  1. Do not cram. Panic will not do you any better.

Manage one task at a time. Your panic will not translate into work; it will only make the situation worse. Be calm at all times and trust yourself.

  1. Breathe more.

The more oxygen your brain has, the better it functions. Relax and you will be able to come up with more fulfilling outputs.

  1. Do not overpromise, learn to say NO.

If you have a lot on your plate already, do not commit to more responsibilities. Avoid pushing yourself too hard. Your colleagues, peers, and even your boss  will appreciate honesty. 

About the Author

Airah Bombase is a Broadcasting student from the Laguna State Polytechnic University – Sta. Cruz and currently an editorial intern of

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