The 10 stages of working towards a deadline


Well, folks, it’s that time of year again, that horrendous, tedious, threatening, scary, stressful time. We shall call it – deadline season…By Thomas Stewart

Yes, you’re working towards your deadlines, you’re banging on that laptop, sending e-mails, reading the same lines over and over again just to meet that deadline and within this time there are stages, ten in fact, that we will all experience. You may recognise some…

1.  The ‘I have so much time to do this essay!’ stage

We all know this stage, it’s the stage where you’re told that you have six months to write your dissertation, two months to write your essay and you immediately think “that is so much time!” so, naturally, you don’t do anything. Not yet. Not yet anyway.

2.  The ‘I should probably do something’ stage

Sound familiar? One of those days when you think ‘I should probably do something’ and you do. You open a book, read a paragraph and then get distracted by other things like…dusting. You need to dust. Dusting is far more important.

3. The ‘Gearing yourself up’ stage

This stage resembles being somewhat like Rocky where you play loud, inspirational music to get yourself in the mind set to do the work. You think of only writing, only researching, only doing what needs to be done but then you think sleep sounds so much more fun.

4. The ‘I am not moving’ stage

You sit. You sit and stare at the document because that’s what needs to happen. Who was it that said to write you need to have no windows? Was it Hemingway? King? Whoever it was knew about deadlines, knew about doing those bad boys so you do the same. You sit. You stare. And nothing happens.

5. The ‘OMG I have a week!’ stage

So you’re feeling the stress, you’re feeling the hatred to yourself for even thinking of doing this degree and then you decide that yes, maybe, you should start because time is not your friend anymore. You have a week. You can write 5000 words in a week. Of course you can.

6. The ‘I’m writing something awesome’ stage

Sure you haven’t given yourself enough time and sure you haven’t done enough research but deadlines bode well with you because you are writing some fantastic stuff, your ideas are new and fresh, you should write under pressure more. You play Queen just to add to the feeling of your awesomeness. You go, Glen Coco! Deadlines are forever in your favour.

7. The ‘This is so bad’ stage

You’ve re-read your masterpiece and it isn’t as great as you first thought. Why on Earth would you even think about writing this subject? It’s too late to go back and start again, and you haven’t even written your conclusion. You need to edit and write…or should you start again?

8. The ‘working and avoiding the clock’ stage

The clock ticks. No, it howls but you’re not looking at the clock, the copious, constant tick-tick-ticking, you’re working. You’re working fast and not looking at the clock even though you know you don’t have long and then you look at the clock and it’s only an hour until hand in and you’re stressed all over again.

9. The ‘clicking save’ stage

It’s done. You’re finished. You’ve clicked save. It’s on your computer. It’s printed. It has your name on it, you’re committed in ink. You have to hand in.

10. The ‘hand in, walk away, what have I done?’ stage

You’ve handed it in, you’re walking away. You were expecting something more, something a bit more WOW, dance and songs, birds and talking animals but you walk, you walk and keep walking and then ‘Oh God, now I wait for my result’.

All sound a bit too familiar? Never fear, we’re all going through it, they’re just feelings and when you sit in the library and have these feelings look up and listen to the universal drum of the fingers against the keyboard.

Let us know your deadline habits in the comments!

Image: I love deadlines/Simon Bleasdale/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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