What's new

How do you deal with stress of deadlines?

SBK

Active Member
I recently got a lot of work and I am very stressed , I know it doesn't helps but it has taken over me!
I usually don't get so much stressed but this time it seems like a really lot of work to handle. also having life stuff to manage too that takes a lot of time too.
What should I do guys?
 

JohnG

Senior Member
"When you're going through hell, keep going." supposedly Churchill said it but it's a good one either way.

It's a very stressful, often quite unhealthy life. At least don't stress about being stressed -- it's normal and natural. I also am under quite a bit of pressure ATM.

As you know, most of what we do is not life and death, and it's good to remember that sometimes.

What can you do?

  1. Avoid alcohol or euphoria drugs.
  2. Limit caffeine intake.
  3. Honour your relationships and commitments, even if it feels you don't have time.
  4. Be kind to yourself.
  5. If you can fall asleep, take a nap; but if you are lying awake, get up and do just a bit of work and then try again later.
 

Sears Poncho

Active Member
1. Be stressed
2. Be grateful
3. Join the club

Working on orchestrations right now, it's 11pm here. Will work til 1. Got a bunch of stress in my personal life. In my music life, "stress" means "working" and that's far less stressful than "not working". Thanks, music! :)
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
1. Be stressed
2. Be grateful
3. Join the club

Working on orchestrations right now, it's 11pm here. Will work til 1. Got a bunch of stress in my personal life. In my music life, "stress" means "working" and that's far less stressful than "not working". Thanks, music! :)
I like that one.

Don't forget, pressure turns Coal into Diamonds.
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
I just think of every horrible non music job I've ever done. Latest one earlier this year was driving a Taxi for 6 months for 12 - 16hrs a day (first 3 months I didn't have a day off as I earned so little I had to hammer it), dealing with drunk idiots that were frequently abusive, trapped in a prison on wheels and going home exhausted with (at most) £93 or at worst £21 for the whole shift. Not forgetting not doing any music whatsoever during this whole time and still being completely skint and miserable).

When I think about that dogs brown vs getting paid to do music I just smile.

Anyway, deadlines are good. Means actually finishing music rather than noodling and tweaking 4 bars of shit until the end of time. :thumbsup:
 

zolhof

Active Member
Hang in there, buddy!

I try to break big tasks into lots of little achievable ones. I write down my short and long term goals and review them at least once a day. What progress have I made? Still on target? How can I make up for the lost time? Don't focus on the big insurmountable single task, focus on the next thing on the list and get the ball rolling. Take regular breaks throughout the day, it will prevent you from getting anxious and losing focus, while keeping your brain's function in check. Ever heard of the Pomodoro technique?

pt.png

During those 25 minutes, work on the task without interruption, fully committed, do not allow yourself to be distracted. Following this simple set of rules has improved my productivity exponentially, without sacrificing my sanity.

Also overlooked: find a mentor or someone you trust and make yourself accountable. Sometimes all we need is someone with similar goals in life to keep us moving in a positive direction. Unless the very act of having yet another person to answer to can make you more stressed, then feel free to ignore it hahaha Good luck!
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
Take regular breaks where you get up and move, preferably outside in some hopefully fresh air. Even if it is just 5 minutes
 

Henu

Senior Member
Reset.

I sometimes work too hard and too much (I'm now cutting it a lot due to having more time for my family and prepare for an upcoming album I need to write). Going go the bed after a 13- hour day is only going to make you rolling in the sheets accompanied with endless echoing of the music in your head until you think you're going insane. You're high on adrenaline and it's impossible to sleep. (And I'm an extremely bad sleeper anyway due to my ADHD and blessing/curse on getting excited on stuff into levels that's considered ridiculous.)

My method is to reset every evening even with deadlines. It means that on those bad days I have missed my family otherwise, at 10PM latest I shut down the machines and spend an hour+ with my wife before we go to bed. Sauna, some great TV series, some light snacks or tea, discussion/ catching up. When we go to bed, I read something until I get tired- be it rimskykorsakovs, fantasy literature or tech articles. Wake up the next morning, get the kids to kindergarten and school, start working again.
 

merlinhimself

Active Member
"When you're going through hell, keep going."
Great quote, sums it up pretty well!
I totally agree with JohnG and all the points. #3, #4, #5 most importantly, #2 is difficult for me haha.

So many times Ive had to remind myself that yeah its not the end of the world, obviously I want to get it done, but in the back of my mind there was always this feeling like if the cue didnt get written the earth would stop spinning and I have to keep that in check.

Now that Ive become solely freelance Ive realized the importance of a break. Before I would just power through it, Id get stuck and I wouldnt stop till I found a way out. It sounds like the right thing to do, but Ive found it so much more beneficial to just step away for 10-20 minutes. Usually as soon as I sit down again the answer is right in front of me, or I atleast approach it differently from where I was before I took a step back. This reduced my stress a lot.

I think its hard to say dont stress about deadlines, thats just part of it. To me another helpful thing I picked up is going strong with planning out your minutes and days. Before I picked this up every episode would be 1-2 days of intense stress, and then Id realize it was gonna be ok. If I have a week to write 15 minutes I try to do 3 a day leaving day 6 to cleanup, and day 7 if its all a mess. Planning and giving myself a safety net helps so much.
 

AdamKmusic

Senior Member
Work in hour burst then take a break in between, be confident with your choices and stick with them and try not to overthink things.
 

Harzmusic

Active Member
I tend to spiral into panic a bit when I have too much on my plate.
On thing that has helped me was building a realistic worst-case scenario. What happens if I miss the deadline? What really happens?
Usually when I answer that question, in reality the consequences would not be instant death or financial ruin, but something a bit smaller, more managable. It might still suck, but to me the emotional fear of general failure is way more powerful than the fear of the actual consequences.
Maybe the client won't work with me again. Maybe I have to pay a fine, because my contract obligates me to the deadline. Maybe I will lose the project. All that would be bad, but I can come back from that. My life would not be over.

Knowing that I will be okay somehow even if I fail keeps me calm enough to not actually fail and make the adjustments needed to make it work. I can get an overview of what needs to be done and make a plan how and when to get it done.
If I spiral into panic, I can't think straight, I won't get help on the project, may not ask for an extended deadline, may not keep a healthy working routine. Panic is what derails a project.

Needless to say that this tactic does not work for every situation, but it has helped me multiple times.
 

clisma

Active Member
I recently got a lot of work and I am very stressed , I know it doesn't helps but it has taken over me!
I usually don't get so much stressed but this time it seems like a really lot of work to handle. also having life stuff to manage too that takes a lot of time too.
What should I do guys?
Congratulations on having so much work!

Most people underestimate the body’s psychosomatic response to stress. Depending on your personality/character/DNA/WhoKnowsWhatExactly, you can be more or less susceptible to this. In a nutshell it means that the emotional stress you feel could manifest itself physically before long.

Lots of good advice above, I particularly like John’s. Here’s what works for me after trying many approaches:

- I realized the early morning hours are significantly more productive than anything after lunch. If I compare morning hours with late evening hours, my productive and problem-solving ability is exponentially higher in the mornings. So I changed my schedule permanently. When on deadlines for a long period of time, I get up at 5:30 or 6 AM and start working. By the time lunch (around 12 or 1PM) comes along , I can take a long break to recoup, then add a few more hours for things that aren’t complex. Short breaks are due every 1 to 2 hours for me. I also make sure I’m in bed and sleeping by 10:30PM at the latest.

- sleeping is the most important activity you can do for your body. If you do nothing else, get more than 7 hours of sleep. YOUR BODY NEEDS THIS. It also means you can’t expect to get into bed at 10PM and fall asleep at 10:10PM. You need time to calm your mind. I switched to taking showers about 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed. Calms me down and lets me get right to work in the morning.

- as mentioned above, if you have enough financial capital from this work, consider getting an assistant. This can let you focus on writing, not the menial, time-consuming stuff that you should not be worrying about.

- our bodies thrive with routine (tricky when freelancing): so settle on a rundown of a day and try to stick to it with minor variations only. Do get outside and look at some green; something happens to us physiologically when we see nature. It calms us down. I have a dog that requires me to go out on long walks twice a day. Religiously. Seems like a waste of time, but let me assure you that if I have a musical problem, insolvable only minutes before the walk, by the time I come back it is solved. Always. Your mind thrives when it has the time to think about nothing because it defaults to thinking CREATIVELY.

Good luck, really!
 
OP
SBK

SBK

Active Member
Thanks guys!!!! very helpful tips you have all! What calmed me down is: working on the whole project by little bits at each time for the whole project, so make the first big steps and continue on details later on :) I spent though 1-2 days on it, so I guess working on it little by little is the most important thing that gets things move forward even if its just simple stuff that you do! and then you can focus on details. That reduced the stress by 90%
 

DANIELE

Active Member
I recently got a lot of work and I am very stressed , I know it doesn't helps but it has taken over me!
I usually don't get so much stressed but this time it seems like a really lot of work to handle. also having life stuff to manage too that takes a lot of time too.
What should I do guys?
Ehi I work all day long on a non music work and after it I'm working on a music project...and they don't even pay me. :grin:

So, don't worry, it is life. Take your work/problem reduce it to a group o little works/problems and solve them one by one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SBK

NYC Composer

Senior Member
There is a lot of really good advice here, much more than the usual in similar threads. Well done, all.

The four that I particularly practiced after I’d had daunting deadlines constantly in the past were these (collated from above):

1. Just keep going
2. What’s the worst that can happen?
3. Figure out a way to power down, sleep for at least 5 hrs or so
4. Take “pleasure breaks” every day, even if they’re short ones.

Once you you integrate those into your working style, your work life improves.
 
Top Bottom