Does your heart instantly start racing if you think about that upcoming deadline in your art business? Then you’re probably not alone. Putting a finishing date on a creative outlet can make even the most accomplished artists bite their nails.

But, we are here to tell you that deadlines don’t have to be feared! You just need to figure out how to work with them.

From setting goals to getting focused, we’ve rounded up nine of our best tips on how to meet the important deadlines in your art business. Check it out:

1. Nail Down Your Deadline

First things first, be aware of your actual deadline. Is it a deadline you are setting for yourself? Do you have to submit a show entry by a certain time? Or, is a client depending on you to finish a commission?

Once you know what deadline you are working with, you can formulate a plan to finish your piece on time and stress-free. Try breaking your project down into small goals that lead up to the deadline.

2. Be Realistic

Setting small goals is great, but don’t forget to make them realistic. An unachievable goal will just bring you more stress. To get a better handle on planning out your project, look to past projects that are similar to what you’re currently working on.

How long did the past project take you? What steps did you have to accomplish? Then, use these answers as a guideline for planning.

3. Stay Organized

After a plan is in place, make it as easy as possible on yourself by staying organized. An amazing way to keep track of your progress is with Artwork Archive’s My Schedule feature, where you can keep track of deadlines and get a weekly reminder email with your to-do’s.

4. Develop Your Focus

You guessed it: the more you focus, the more you are able to get done before your deadline. But as artist Carrie Lewis explains on Empty Easel, developing that focus is not an easy task. First, she suggests eliminating all distractions—phones, computers, other art projects—and putting everything else you need to do out of sight, out of mind.

Second, try working in short, twenty to thirty minute segments. Carrie explains, “It’s a lot easier to set aside distractions and focus on work if I know in advance that I don’t have to work for a long time.” This will build up your discipline and you’ll eventually ditch the desire to quit.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Another way to keep fear at bay is to become more mindful. This practice of living in the moment allows you to focus on the task at hand, but is an exercise that takes practice. This involves accepting both the good and bad in your life, paying more attention to yourself and others, facing obstacles with practicality, and taking the time to breathe.

With a clear mind, your deadline won’t feel as daunting.

6. Develop a Routine

We know what you’re thinking, and no—developing a routine will not hinder your creative process. Sticking to a program can actually help you feel happier, more creative, and ready to roll with whatever project you’re working on.

Don’t know where to start? Try this morning routine for artists or this guide for being a productive artist at night.

7. Stay Healthy

The better you feel, the easier it will be to concentrate. Make it a priority to eat right, stay hydrated, and stretch out your tired muscles. You will feel the difference! Get more health tips by checking out “How to Stay Healthy as an Artist.”

8. Clean Up Your Studio Space

If your studio is filled to the brim with other projects and materials everywhere, how can you expect to focus? Taking the time to organize your workspace and sort your supplies will actually save you time in the long run, so you aren’t distracted or rummaging through drawers. Clean space, clean mind!

9. Be Grateful Instead

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of running an art business, and the pressure to succeed can make deadlines feel like the end of the world. But there is a simple solution! Remember why you became an artist in the first place. Remember your passion. Remember your past successes. Be grateful for the chance to pursue your dream, and your fear will be easier to manage.

Deadlines don’t have to bring you down.

Knowing how to prepare and stay on track for deadlines is key. Whether you need to finalize your juried show submissions or finish your latest piece for an art fair, following these tips will help you master deadlines, not fear them.

Fear is natural, but it doesn’t have to be a constant in your career. Check out “How to Keep Fear from Ruining Your Art Business.