We’ve all felt it before. You might even be feeling it today with April 15th being on our doorstep.
We all have priorities and deadlines, but it’s all too frequent that the last hour sneaks up on us and we’re rushing to get things completed. What we end up cranking out is below our own personal standards. It gets the job done but not without its own fair share of stress as we rush to complete it and of disappointment when we realize how much better we could have done if we’d had more time.
It’s almost disgusting how cyclical the pattern can be, especially for high achievers.
The other part that just flat out sucks is all the advice you find online really does nothing for you when you’re in the heat of feeling stressed and disappointed. The most common advice tips consist of “Learn to say no” and “Set a schedule for yourself”, all things that might have been helpful before it really became a problem.
So what do you do when you’re already really stressed because you are late on getting started and all the well-meaning time management advice really doesn’t apply?
The best cure for stress is to get to work
When you feel time caving in on you and know that you’re going to be rushed to get something done, the worst thing you can do is sit and stress about it. Go ahead and get to work!
When you’re up against some kind of deadline, being stressed out about the deadline is not going to get the work done any faster. Working will get the work done faster (and it will lower your stress levels).
So if you’re sitting around wondering how you’re going to get it all done, my question for you is how do you have time to sit around and wonder? Go ahead and start cracking away at it.
Put yourself in a position where you can focus
When you’re stressed about getting something done, the last thing you want to do is put yourself in place where you feel distracted.
This looks different from person to person. Some people get distracted when they are trying to get work done at home. They’ll sit in front of their laptop hoping to get a blog post written and will see the pile of laundry in the corner of their eye. Before they know it, they’re up and throwing things in the wash.
Other people get distracted in the office space. If you have a small office where everyone’s in close quarters or an open office that gets kind of noisy, this may resonate strongly with you. Maybe it’s best to go sit at your local coffee shop to get that thing written. Sometimes it’s easier to drown out ambient background noise than the noise of your colleagues talking.
You know you better than anyone so if you are feeling stressed and realize it’s getting exacerbated by environmental distractions, make sure to quickly change your environment so you can focus better.
Make peace with what you can do and stop beating yourself up
Nicholas Drillman recently posted that he believes that most people’s natural inclination is to take it easy on themselves. Now I really like Drillman. He’s got a great writing personality & lots of creative tips for living unconventionally, many of which I’d really love to implement it in some of my own goal setting (although I am a strict 1 goal at a time type of chick).
Yet I disagree with him on this sentiment. While we may not always be pushing ourselves as hard as gold-star Olympic athletes, I don’t think we have a natural inclination to take it easy on ourselves.
Most of the time when we fail to live up to our own standards for ourselves, we will become our own worst enemies. We’ll go through a whole mental laundry list of how we didn’t do this and should have done that and by the end of that list we have pretty much determined that we officially suck.
Sure, we’re not pushing ourselves to get into the pool for 5 hours every day like Michael Phelps, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t victim to our own mental confidence bashing sessions. I know Drillman is saying that we don’t push ourselves hard enough (which I agree with) but we should make sure that when we do slack on our goals, we don’t spend all the time burying ourselves in our own melodramas.
Instead of rattling off the hundred reasons why you’re the worst, try practicing some emotional first aid. Tell yourself you are going to do the best you can do in the time you’ve got left to do it. That’s all you’ve got anyway so you might as well make peace with it.
Let go of perfection
It is really, really overrated, plus, you’ll never actually reach it. Thus, you’ll only be perpetually dissatisfied. Creating your own standard of what you’re proud of and willing to put out in the world will ensure you don’t start to blend in with everyone else and that you’re not spending too much energy on one project. Overall, if you operate by your own standards, you’re likely to produce more and achieve higher levels of recognition than if you produce less that’s (maybe) closer to “perfect”.
Phew, now that that’s over with, let me go ahead and admit that I was writing this blog post last minute. Do I wish I had more time? Sure, always. Is it good enough to publish? I think so. Did I keep with my goals of getting a blog post out each week? You bet.
Maybe next week I’ll carve out some more time, but for now: I did the work in a distraction free zone, didn’t beat myself up about it and am okay with it not being perfect
Until next week, y’all.