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...

Examples:
..... 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)

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

Freqгency of usage: sometimes