Monday, January 30, 2017

Ways to Cope When Deadlines Are Killing You

Deadline. What's your reaction to that word? Did you cringe? Curl up like a pill bug and roll into the crevice between baseboard and wall? Flail your arms and scream like your pants are on fire? There's a reason "dead" is in the word deadline. . . because it feels like when you're trying to meet one you're pretty sure you're dying in a thousand different ways.

If you've got a deadline stressing you out, you're not alone. I've got a few of 'em looming over my head like a doomsday mushroom cloud about to encase me in radioactive anxiety. How's a person to breathe, let alone be creative, when the clock is ticking down to zero hour? Never fear. Have I got a handy dandy list for you (and me).

5 Ways to Cope With a Looming Deadline

1. Set Goals
Whatever it is that you're working on, take a good, hard look at the final expected project then break it down into little, more manageable pieces. That could mean you have to write a chapter a day or a figure out X amount of plot points before dinner every night. Whatever. The point is that you will accomplish your deadline if you break it down into chunks and do a little bit every day. This removes stress by knowing that if you stick to the schedule you created, you'll hit your goal.

2. Quit Complaining
Spending time talking about what needs to get done isn't going to get the thing done. You're wasting time and frothing up negativity every time you do this.

3. Defend Your Time
I know it's more fun to go out with friends when they call. It's easier to mindlessly page through Facebook or Instagram, or skip on over to Netflix and watch an episode or two. But here's the deal . . . you've got to say no or that deadline is going to blow up in your face. AFTER your deadline there will be plenty of time to do those "fun" things (and there should be as a reward for your hard work). Make your goal a priority, not distractions.

4. Find a Cheerleader
We all need accountability partners who wear mini-skirts and flaunt their pom poms (in a PG sort of way, not R, sheesh). Get a buddy who will ask how it's going, pull you up when you're down in the dumps, kick you in the pants when you're a whiner, and be there to cheer you as you near the finish line.

5. Accept Your Limitations
You are not going to produce a perfect product by the time that deadline rolls around. You're going to produce the best possible product you can and that's all. Stop putting pressure on yourself to create a flawless piece of art because you are not flawless. It's going to have bugs. In the words of Queen Elsa, "Let it go."

It's good to care about meeting your deadlines but it's not healthy to get wonked out about them. Do your best then move on to the next project.


Announcing the winner of last week's giveaway for a free signed copy of one of my books . . . drum roll please . . . PATTI RHYNE. Woohoo! Round of applause and general squees of joy. Thanks, everyone, for entering and stay tuned . . . there will be more upcoming giveaways in the near future. 


chappydebbie said...

Congratulations to Patti!

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