Tips for Working Under Pressure
Earlier this year, CareeerCast.com came out with the following list of the 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2013:
- Enlisted Military Personnel
- Military General
- Commercial Airline Pilot
- Public Relations Executive
- Senior Corporate Executive
- Newspaper Reporter
- Taxi Driver
- Police Officer
Other professions I’ve seen on other lists include Event Planners, Teachers, Medical Professionals, Clergy, and Working Parents. In addition, I’m sure some of you are working a couple of these jobs simultaneously!
While many of us won’t be able to relate to some of these professions, all of us have to deal with working under pressure. The variables of expectations, work environment, and just people in general can create a whole lot of stress in our lives.
Although there are no magic formulas to dealing with the pressures that surround our work, here are a few things that I’ve found helpful in dealing with some of the stress:
- Write things down. It may sound counter-intuitive in the midst of the chaos, but developing a simple system that allows you track your tasks unloads a mound of pressure. Whether you use a memo sticky, phone, notepad, tablet, or computer, develop a habit of taking a few seconds for recording your thoughts. This can be a major source of stress relief in day-to-day project management.
- Take extended time to organize. Take advantage of early mornings (if you’re a morning person), unexpected appointment cancelations, or even plane rides to organize your next few hours, days, and/or weeks. Taking time to organize may feel impossible in the midst of reacting to the day-to-day, but in the long run, it will save you time and money.
- Turn off social media regularly (unless it’s your core business). It’s almost impossible for most of us to get any significant work done if we can’t focus for an extended period of time (minimally 60-90 minutes at a time). Social media can and is a huge distraction for many in the workplace. It often creates an addictive relationship between us and technology. It’s great to check in from time to time, but it’s highly unproductive to be constantly distracted by it. Don’t worry…your friends will still be there when you get back to it during an upcoming break or downtime. I promise.
- Don’t Think Too Much and Start Moving. A mountain of work can often lead us to paralysis. There are no creative shortcuts out of this sense of freeze. We need to come to terms with this reality. The only real option is to start moving. Period. Don’t think about it too much and just move. What’s the alternative? Get stuck? That’s not a good thing. Grab a shovel and move the mountain one scoop at a time.
- Reward Yourself Often. Create milestones for yourself to work towards with corresponding rewards. These rewards don’t have to be expensive or heavily time consuming. It may be a meal at your favorite restaurant, going out with a friend, subscription to a magazine, or going for an afternoon run to clear your head. Rewards can celebrate progress and keep you motivated to live forward.