How to Work Under Pressure & Meet Deadlines

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Working under pressure to meet deadlines involves dealing with situations that are constrained by time. Because these circumstances involve matters demanding urgent attention, feelings of anxiety and panic can arise. The ability to maintain control, evaluate what needs to be done and execute a well-organized plan can greatly minimize the stresses of working under pressure and even improve your effectiveness when deadlines need to be met.

Maintain control when faced with a deadline. Don't let yourself think negatively, such as thinking that you can't complete the task on time. Reacting to pressure in this manner can cloud decision-making and inhibit your ability to think through the work you need to do. Arguing with yourself about whether you can meet the expectations of an assignment is counterproductive and wastes time. Assure yourself that you have dealt with pressure before, and realize that staying collected under pressure helps you stay focused and make the right decisions.

Evaluate what needs to be done before you start working. For example, if you are given one week to complete a 10-page research assignment, give yourself ample time to do both the required research and the writing. Evaluating the task can help you prioritize the importance of different aspects of the assignment.

Plan to avoid procrastination. If you break up an assignment or project into smaller parts, you can set mini-deadlines and greatly reduce the pressure you feel. Trying to complete a long assignment all at once may lead to burnout. Pacing yourself and working in sections is a more practical approach when you're working on long and difficult assignments.

Execute the plan you made. Try your best to finish the phases of the assignment by the mini-deadlines you have set.


The more prepared you are to work under pressure, the better you will become at it. If you discover a strategy or method that helps you work under pressure, use it in the future when faced with difficult situations.