I’m looking forward to the time in my life when my days are not ruled by deadlines. I spend every waking moment with an anxiety-ridden buzz in my head screaming about all the work I have to do. It seems like there is always another thing that has to be done. Some of them I don’t mind, like writing blog posts, but when I get too many deadlines pushed too close together I start to feel stretched a little thin. I keep looking at all the things I have to do even if I should only be focusing on one and get overwhelmed.
All of a sudden I start to want to check out. To go somewhere where I can be alone with my thoughts and feelings and let them take over my life instead of the next thing I have to pass in or submit. But I don’t get to do that because I have a next thing to submit.
In a way, these deadlines are self-imposed. I choose to attend university. I choose to get involved and take on responsibilities. I like being busy. I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I didn’t have things to do and places to go. Even if I wasn’t at university I’d still have that with the blog and my career. I’ll always have deadlines.
But sometimes it’s just too much. When you’re writing 5000 words a week for school over five papers due on different days you start to lose sleep. I’ll work until I crash and then feel guilty because there’s always something else to do. I do take time off to avoid the crash but my anxiety always makes me worry.
I’ve been thinking about a solution for this and I’ve come up with a way to deal with constant deadlines. It has two parts: 1) dealing with anxiety and 2) working efficiently.
The first thing to tackle is anxiety. I have overactive anxiety that can cause me to freeze up and not actually get things done. I will never get rid of my anxiety but I don’t need or want to. The purpose of anxiety is to cause you to act. Anxiety is your bodies way of telling you that you need to do something. The problem is when it’s overactive and shuts you down. I’ve found a way to deal with this in a few easy steps that help me use my anxiety to get work done.
- Realize anxiety is just your body’s reaction to having to do something important and it just wants you to do your best and actually get work done
- Tell yourself nothing bad is going to happen
- Use your anxiety to motivate yourself to do something by seeing it as a positive force
Seeing anxiety as a positive force can be hard. For me, I can look at it as my body’s way of motivating myself by focusing on what not doing the thing would mean. When it comes to school this usually ends with my anxiety telling me I’m going to fail. By seeing my anxiety as a motivator I can say to myself “I’m not going to fail because my anxiety is going to make sure I pass in my paper”.
The other part of this is working efficiently. By not wasting my time by messing up I save time and can complete more of my deadlines faster. I have two steps to get this done in no particular order other than doing them before I start my paper.
- Make sure I have everything I need to write my papers
- Have a schedule
I always outline and get all my research done first. That way I never have to rewrite my paper because what I thought the data was going to say isn’t what it said. My Intro paragraph and thesis are always the last things I write.
The other thing I do is schedule. I schedule when I’m doing what papers so I don’t burn out and I schedule downtime. By scheduling my down time I don’t feel guilty and can actually relax so I can recharge and work through my papers.
Luckily today is my last exam and tonight I get to go home and take a little break from school deadlines. I still have some writing deadlines over the break. I want to do some writing as I haven’t gotten much done since school started and I need to do some editing. I’m also going to take a bit of downtime to myself to relax. Best of luck to everyone still doing exams, my heart goes out to you.