Demands! Deadlines! Nine Tips to Survive

Feel like you’re drowning in work? So many demands and deadlines you don’t know where to start? Have the urge to stick your head in the sand?

Elephant face down in surf

The same day I received edits for a book (“How fast can you do these?”), a tearful friend called me, desperate for encouragement; another sent me an email plea: How could she fix her picture book NOW? The phone and doorbell rang incessantly and an employer needed my workshop press release TODAY.

What do you do?

As much as you’d like to respond by wearing ear buds while napping in the sun, you know the pressure will only get worse by ignoring everything.

1. Make a list. What needs to be done when?

2. Prioritize.

3. Set up your workplace. Can you find what you need when you need it?

4. Begin item #1.

5. Pace yourself. Remember to take quick breaks for stretching and hydrating.

6. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s taking longer than you thought. Your process is your process. Whether you’re writing a novel, creating a painting, or planning a presentation, it takes what it will take. Rushing only makes the quality go down.

7. At the end of your work day, replenish. Eat well, meditate, and decompress.

8. Celebrate the small steps. When you finish one goal or ten, reward yourself. Take a walk in nature, read a good story, or call a friend.

9. Is there a way to prepare for the onslaught of work the next time? If so, make a plan. If not, go with the flow. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

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