Projects, Deadlines, and Stress, Oh My!

Picture from Pixabay

I hope that you had a wonderful break. There is so much to get done during the holidays. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy it all. But taking care of the holidays is a demanding job. By the time New Year’s Day rolls around, I am often left feeling like I need another day off work. With the 2019 holidays in the past, the end of the school year is looming. There is no doubt that I always look forward to summer breaks. But, before I can get to the vacations, there are still end-of-the-year projects and the deadlines that come with them. With those projects come the stress of trying to get them completed on time.

I was reading last week about stress for a project I was completing. One of the articles that I was reading (Gallo, 2011) suggested that coping with stress is a matter of changing how it is viewed. Gallo summarized Justin Menkes and Shawn Achor’s tips for dealing with stress. The advice is as follows.

  • Treat stress like a feeling that indicates how urgent a task is. The more critical the job is, the more pressure you are likely to feel. I imagine that you won’t feel much stress about closing the library every day. However, you might feel a little stressed about doing your yearly inventory accurately.
  • If you continue to think of tasks as stressful, they will cause a flight-or-fight impulse that will slow down your thinking capabilities. Change your thinking to transfer stressful tasks into challenges that need to be conquered instead of threats. Do you have something to do that you have never done before? Try to think of it as a learning experience.
  • Decide whether you can control a stressor or not. If you can’t manage the stress, put it aside, and focus on something that you can use to make a difference. For example, you cannot control what someone else will say to or about you. You can moderate how you react to their behaviors. Also, you cannot dictate the mandatory deadline for a report. You can regulate your planning to complete the report.
  • Find people that can help you through difficult times. Positive people can foster the development of solutions, and library planning committees can problem-solve school-related tasks. Friends and family can assist with personal matters.
  • Challenge yourself by seeking out minimally risky situations that will allow you to practice being in stressful situations. These are beneficial because you can exert some control over them while gaining experience and confidence. An example is hosting a short workshop for teachers or parents.

I found the advice that Gallo shared to be accurate because I do let stress motivate me at times. Last year, a mentor helped me to take a different approach to handling work-related situations. As we pondered something that I perceived to be negative, my mentor suggested that I should not fixate on it. There was nothing that I could do to change it. The strategy that I could take was to approach the challenge by examining the factors that I understand and stabilizing what I can control. Based on the facts that I gathered, and by taking control of my mindset, I was able to move forward. Consequently, I had less to worry about and my outlook became brighter. Letting go takes courage. Nonetheless, sometimes it is necessary. Whatever it is, in 2020, let it go.

Works Cited

Gallo, Amy. 2011. “Turning Stress into an Asset.” Harvard Business Review (June 28).

Geralt. n.d.. Deadline clipart.

February 2020 Professional Development
Organization Date & Time Professional Development Title February 4, 2020 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Making Student Success Visible: How to Act on Growth Scores
February 11, 2020 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Catching Happiness: How to Work Through Burnout and Be a Joy-Filled Teacher
February 12, 2020 – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST Evaluating Edtech Programs at the Schoolwide Performance Level
February 18, 2020 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Reading Instruction: When You Know Better, You Do Better
February 25, 2020 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST Unstoppable Literacy Acceleration: Engagement, Effectiveness, and Equity for Diverse Learners
Simple K12 February 8, 2020 –10:00 am – 10:30 am EST Mobile Makerspaces: Tinkering with STEAM
February 8, 2020 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST 15 Projects to Spark an Interest in STEAM Topics
February 8, 2020 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST I Made It: Creating Makerspaces on a Budget
February 22, 2020 – 10:00 am – 10:30 am EST Google Classroom: Setting Up, Organizing, Archiving, and More!
February 22, 2020 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST 10 Hacks for Using Google Classroom
February 22, 2020 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST Google Classroom: Handling Assignments, Student Workflow, Communications, and More!
Texas State Library

and Archives


February 20, 2020 – 10:00 am – 11:00 am EST Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: How to Own Your Expertise and Present with Confidence
Webjunction February 5, 2020 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Librarian as Verb: Activate Your Rural Community
February 11, 2020 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Civil Legal Justice: The Crucial Role of Libraries February 5, 2020 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Free Tools for Working with Social Media


February 19, 2020 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST What’s New in Children’s Literature – 2020


ALCTS February 5, 2020 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Space Crunch: Tips for Downsizing a Print Collection
TeachersFirst February 4, 2020 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST Data and Charts and Graphs, Oh My! Let Google Tools Be Your Guide
February 18, 2020 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST 3 Cool Tools for Social Studies
Booklist Webinars February 4, 2020 – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST New Books, New Worlds: Diverse Titles for Youth & Young Adult

Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development

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