Dealing with deadlines – lockdown edition
‘Tis the season for Microsoft nightmares, irritable emails and coffee. The last couple of months have been a crazy time for most and emotions seem to be heightened in this isolation scenario. Social media, the news and society in general create extra pressure when dealing with day-to-day tasks which can be hard never mind mixed with the already difficult deadline and exam season. Stress is a natural part of life and can sometimes even be positive giving us drive and focus however, beyond a certain point it can cause damage to our health, mood, productivity and relationships.
My own personal experiences with deadlines over this period have had its lows, I’ve been feeling confused, undirected and a little bit forgotten. Comparing what’s currently going on in the world to my deadlines almost seems to invalidate my anxieties towards them but for me and I’m sure others, deadlines are important! I have come to realise I won’t be alone in these feelings so have decided to share some of the ways I have found help me manage my deadline stress effectively:
- Identify the cause: yes, it’s the deadlines but what is it about them? Do you lack understanding? Do you feel unprepared? For myself I discovered it was that I felt overwhelmed by the workload. By identifying the cause, you can come up with a practical solution, my workload wasn’t going to just disappear, but I could split the work into different tasks and tackle each one individually and finally come up with strategy to tackle it. This made me realise there wasn’t as much to do as I first thought and stopped me from just sitting and worrying about how much work I had to do with the fear of even starting it. I found creating colourful timetables and lists so I could visually tick off each milestone, which was very useful.
- Find a balance: when there’s lots of work to do and deadlines seem to be looming it can be hard to have downtime without feeling guilty but it’s important to realise that without having any balance, then you won’t be on form and producing your best work anyway. So make sure to give yourself time to watch that Netflix show, play that video game or spend time with those you’re isolating with. Personally, I’ve found that music has massively helped as an escape from my work, discovering new artists/songs or even just listening to my favourites (over and over again, sorry mum). Exercise has also been proven to release endorphins, it’s all about finding what works for you.
- Talk about it: as mentioned before, some of my stress came from feeling like no-one fully understood what I was going through. Interestingly, once talking to one of my tutors I realised that they are going through similar situations, everyone is experiencing the downfalls of the pandemic. Just by explaining to your tutor where you’re struggling with, they may offer some advice or resources to help you. I’ve also used The Market Place who are offering phone support whilst face-to-face contact has been stopped. Being able to talk to someone openly about all my emotions and isolation worries without bias really helped me identify how I was feeling and not feel judged for it.
The most important thing to take from this is that you’re not alone in feeling this way, everyone has their different ways of dealing things and there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
If you need support with your wellbeing during lockdown there are services in Leeds which might help. Find out more here