Today we have a guest post from Ryan Rivera. Ryan is an expert at anxiety. He has worked in a
variety of fields that have him out of the office but still in front of fast-approaching
deadlines. You can find out more about anxiety and potential anxiety treatments
When you work in a traditional office, your entire company
shares in the stress of an upcoming deadline. In some ways, this makes it worse
- shared stress can exacerbate the anxiety you already feel. But in other ways,
it makes it better, because your coworkers who share your experience act as a circle
Working remotely is different. Without the traditional
office, the anxiety you experience isn’t shared with those around you. It’s
simply you, alone, figuring out how to handle the stress of the deadline and
looking for ways to overcome your anxiety.
While you can always expect a little bit of stress near any
deadline, even if you are way ahead of schedule, too much anxiety can be
harmful to your happiness and to your focus. So here are some ideas for
reducing that anxiety so that your deadline comes and goes smoothly.
Keep a S.M.A.R.T. goals list
Much of the anxiety comes from not being sure that every
piece of the project is finished. Even if you are only supposed to handle one
task, there is always the chance that some aspect of the project was missed,
and this creates the anxiety.
goals at the beginning that are S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable,
attainable, realistic and timely. Additionally, if you maintain a complete list
of your specific goals and when they should be completed, you’ll be able to
mark off each and every part of the project as you progress, knowing with
certainty that you are going to finish on time.
Communicate throughout the day
People with deadline anxiety often fuel it by delaying the
especially when they’re behind on a project or concerned about when it will be
completed. That delay leads to more stress as you worry about what you’re going
to say and what your boss or client will respond with. Get it over with early
by communicating all throughout the day via email or Skype (or whatever you use
for correspondence), so that there are no surprises when the deadline gets
Create a positivity journal
Deadlines often cause you to focus on what hasn’t yet been
done, and that only serves to fuel your anxiety. Consider starting a positivity
journal, a place for you to share positive affirmations and thoughts, telling
yourself that you’re going to be okay and that you’ll be able to focus and
complete your project to the best of your ability. These journals help train
your mind to stop centering on the negative, making them a worthwhile tool for
people that need this type of mindset change.
Many people work too hard as a
deadline draws near, often neglecting sleep in order to complete the project.
Unfortunately, avoiding sleep tends to have the opposite effect. Sleep
deprivation makes it very hard to focus on your tasks, and it exacerbates
stress considerably – especially when deadlines are close. You want to be at
the top of your game, so even if you have to put off a little bit of work, get that
good night’s sleep. You’ll find it valuable for your productivity and your
Deadline stress is natural, and only a few people can successfully
avoid it as they get closer to a deadline. Unless your project is already
complete, you should expect deadlines to cause anxiety. But with the
right tips and planning, you can reduce the severity of the symptoms, keep
yourself focused on your project and have an easier time finishing the tasks
you need to.
Photo credit: thornypup