race against time

a race against time
a race against the clock

(an attempt to do something when there is little time to do it) — аврал; завал; попытка сделать что-л. в предельно сжатые сроки; (делать что-л.) ударными темпами; работать в авральном режиме; гнать...

..... We've finished the project on time — but it's been a race against time! — Мы закончили проект вовремя , но мы работали ударными темпами!

..... It was a race against time as staff members tried to keep the struggling company open. (CIDI)

Also used as a verb phrase to race against time / the clock:

..... The villagers raced against time to protect their town against the flood. (CIDI)
.....With her term paper due on Monday, she was racing against the clock to finish it. (thefreedictionary.com)

[уложиться в срок]
work like shock-workers(??)

Freqгency of usage: sometimes