How to Make Deadlines Less Stressful and More Motivational
The Yerkes-Dodson law states that the more mental arousal there is in doing a task, the more efficient a person becomes. After you get to a certain threshold, your performance begins to decrease.
An appropriate quantity of stress should inspire increased productivity.
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A way to create less stressful deadlines is to break large projects into smaller tasks. Set a deadline for each task instead of just one final deadline.
Regularly spacing the deadlines out will give a sense of moving forward, which can motivate you to complete the task.
Difficult tasks require low levels of stress, while easy tasks require high levels of stress to trigger mental arousal.
The next time you set a deadline, try placing a rush deadline for easier tasks and set your deadline far out for more difficult projects.
If you lack motivation and don't manage to meet your deadlines, try to set a more pressing deadline for yourself. This will give you a sense of urgency to complete the task.
While we recognize our own procrastination and try to curb it via self-imposed deadlines, these aren't always as effective as deadlines set for them by others.
If you don't have a boss or project sponsor who's setting deadlines for you, it might be worth asking someone to become your accountability partner.
It is naturally harder for us to concentrate on a task or measure progress on a project when we're bored.
To overcome this, turn the task into a game and include rewards, to make it more fun and motivating.
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Though deadlines can often help you avoid procrastinating, research also shows that they don’t always work, and there are situations where increased flexibility can be better, in terms of personal productivity.
As such, you should always assess the situation at hand, in order to determine whether setting deadlines will help you or not.
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