Can you work well under pressure? That’s an age-old question that has been asked by many HR and recruiting managers at job interviews. However, every job, in every industry, comes with its own pressure. And, when you add the current coronavirus to the mix its unlikely you will find any job today where employees are not experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety.
A recently published article by Young Entrepreneur Council for Inc.com titled 8 Leaders Share Their Secrets to Succeeding Under Pressure includes tips on how to handle pressure.
We changed the order of the list to reflect, what we see as the most important:
- Take care of your health first: The secret to succeeding under pressure and scrutiny? Taking care of your physical and mental health. “The most organized person will crumble without sufficient sleep,” says Rachel Beider, CEO of PRESS Modern Massage. “Make sure you’re prioritizing a healthy lifestyle and habits to establish a strong foundation for success.”
- Focus on one task at a time: Trying to tackle a huge project on a tight deadline is often a source of stress. Instead of looking at the total stress, Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, recommends focusing on each specific task you must complete before moving onto the next. “Forget about the overall result until you’re almost finished,” says Schrage. “And since you’ve probably had these moments before, think back to one or two where you particularly shined and use that for inspiration.”
- Learn to ignore the negativity: A thick skin is a must when you’re facing professional scrutiny, says Angela Ruth, customer experience rep for Calendar. “You need to learn to ignore certain things like negative behaviors or comments because letting them impact you will only stop you from succeeding,” Ruth says. “Do not emotionally react to what others are trying to stir up. Keep focused on what you need to get done. You’ll succeed and shut them up in the process.”
- Keep your eye on the prize: Tunnel vision is sometimes considered a bad thing, but it’s absolutely essential when you’re trying to get work done under pressure. “Stress and anxiety are often a result of thinking about the unknown in the future,” says Matthew Podolsky, managing attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. “Remove this by moving one moment and one breath at a time. Keep your eyes on the prize regardless of how you feel or the pressure that surrounds you. Any attention paid to stress will be attention taken from the goal.”
- Prioritize what’s important, not what’s urgent: We’ve all had to choose between “urgent” and “important” tasks on our to-do lists. According to Solomon Thimothy, co-founder and president of OneIMS, the “urgent” tasks shouldn’t consume you. It’s best to optimize your workflow and prioritize the important things on your list. “If you don’t want to spend the rest of your career fighting fires, take time to prevent them from happening in the future,” Thimothy adds.
- Ask for help: When you’re feeling pressured to deliver results on a timeline, it helps to remember that there are others around you who can help, including your team. Piyush Jain, CEO of SIMpalm, says he is often able to get help from his team when needed, because he makes a point to help them too. “Planning your activities is important, but if you get support from team members, you can deliver more and do it efficiently,” says Jain.
- Remember your past successes: One thing that works for Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, when she’s stressed is reflecting on past successes. “When you feel stressed or under pressure, remember all that you’ve already overcome,” Wells says. “If you got through that, then surely you can get through and achieve anything.”
- Treat it like a game: Working under extreme pressure can sometimes feel like life or death. Before he reaches this point, Zach Binder, co-founder and president of Bell + Ivy, stops to adjust his perspective and treats the pressure like a game. “I challenge myself to get through the time having as much fun as possible while doing it,” Binder explains. “If you can find the fun in the situation, all pressure will be gone.”
Bottomline: We all deal with pressure in our jobs and how we deal with it, will determine its outcome. To achieve a better outcome, we can either change our work environment or find a coping a mechanism that works for us.
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