What to do when you are Overwhelmed with Urgent Deadlines?

3 min read

Education & Career Trends: January 22, 2023

Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS


Simply jumping into action can result in even more time wasted, especially if it’s not the right action.

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When you are feeling overwhelmed with urgent deadlines, the inclination can be to just barrel forward as quickly as possible. After all, isn’t every minute that you wait one less minute for you to get everything done? Well, not exactly.

Simply jumping into action can result in even more time wasted, especially if it’s not the right action. Often the best thing to do is to not launch into get-everything-done mode just yet and instead hit pause and take a break.

Of course, this shouldn’t apply to every urgent matter.

Certainly, if an angry rhinoceros is chasing after you, it’s best not to hit pause.

Assess the urgency level:

The first thing to do in any seemingly urgent situation is to assess its true urgency level. Is this an I-better-act-now-or-get-impaled situation or is there actually some time to contemplate how to best move forward?

Determine the time at hand for a break:

When you’ve determined that you don’t have to act immediately, then take a brief break to assess how much time you really do have to take a break. It may be more time than you think. For example, if things are due the next day or even later, you surely have at least half an hour to take a break.

Taking a break helps you see the bigger picture:

A break is often needed to see the bigger picture of what’s actually happening. When faced with a seemingly urgent situation, the tendency can be to get super-focused on the tasks at hand, which can make you lose sight of the bigger picture.

Utilise the break time to slow down and choose the right strategies:

Similarly, without giving yourself enough time to properly strategise and prioritise what you are going to do, you could end up hurriedly tackling the wrong things first and going down the wrong path. Without seeing the bigger picture, you may prematurely leap towards only the most obvious and easiest to tackle things rather than the ones that are ultimately the most pivotal. Such major missteps are going to waste even more time than taking a break would have in the first place. Such mistakes may turn an urgent situation into an even more urgent one, potentially disastrous, this-can’t-be-rescued situation.

That’s why it’s always important to pace yourself, even when you feel overwhelmed with deadlines. There can be a tendency to equate “pacing yourself” with procrastination when dealing with urgent deadlines.

When you’ve got seemingly too many things to do, taking a break to go for a run, rest, meditate, and eat a good meal is not the same thing as procrastination. If it gives you time to clear your head and more strategically approach what needs to be done, then the end result could be a whole lot of time saved. So when faced with a seemingly overwhelming situation, don’t just make a break for it. See if you can take a break instead.


Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

Feeling Stuck? These Are The 2 Types Of Procrastination


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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