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Managing deadline stress

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th May 2009 03:00 AM

FOR Christopher Mwaka, every minute counts. As a student, he is struggling to meet a deadline for his pending course works. His workplace has given him two weeks to submit the end of year financial report.

FOR Christopher Mwaka, every minute counts. As a student, he is struggling to meet a deadline for his pending course works. His workplace has given him two weeks to submit the end of year financial report.

By Ruth Kutamba

FOR Christopher Mwaka, every minute counts. As a student, he is struggling to meet a deadline for his pending courseworks.

His workplace has given him two weeks to submit the end of year financial report. He must meet the deadlines.

In today’s career world, the timescale of deadlines seems to be getting shorter as companies strive for profits amid cost-cutting. “If you do not do it now, you have failed!” Mwaka laments.

Traditionally, a deadline is the amount of work to be done by a certain date. It is said the word originated from the old age prison system, where it was used to strike fear into the minds of prisoners – anyone crossing the deadline would be shot!

Since fear is sometimes a powerful motivator, it is not surprising that the term has been adopted by managers as an alternative to words such as target, goal or objective. This is not to suggest that deadlines are bad – they are not – but they can be a source of stress if we do not manage them appropriately, according to Rachael Aurugai, a psychologist at Bugema University.

“It is not easy to contain that kind of pressure. You can get torn apart,” she warns.

She says supervisors should set realistic time limits otherwise most deadlines will be missed.
Aurugai says time management is key in meeting a deadline since to bosses, missing deadlines shows lack of commitment.

Denis Koire, a specialist in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, agrees that when a deadline is defined, record it in a manner that you will remember. It could be in your desk calendar or a reminder on your phone.

He advises that one should consider the amount of time and resources required to complete an assignment.

If the project is a group activity, communicate clearly the results desired and the expected completion time. Meanwhile, ensure that the group is making progress.
It is important, according to experts, to convince yourself that projects with deadlines are an ordinary part of your work.
Just as Martin Bahugire, a private consultant in administration and management points out: “Don’t fear the deadline. Much of this stress is self-imposed and can be avoided.”

He says, however, that when you have a choice, do not agree to something you cannot deliver.Be sure to speak up when you have legitimate concerns.
“If you are running late, inform whoever needs to know quickly.”
However, do not let work take control of your life. Relax your brain through exercise, in house games or outings with friends.

Tips on managing stress

  • Set goals and an action plan. Stress is caused by not knowing what to start with.

  • Stay focused; you can easily get stressed when you are not.

  • Take action. Indecision can create stress

  • Manage your time and don't delay or postpone anything.

  • Don’t be a perfectionist.

  • Manage your mind. The way you think influences how you feel and behave.

  • Don't worry about things out of your control.

  • Think positively and stay upbeat
  • Managing deadline stress

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