Working under pressure to meet a critical deadline can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. On the one hand, it is exciting to feel a sense of urgency and know that you are working under pressure to achieve something meaningful. It can make you feel like you are constantly on edge and dealing with problems as they arise.
It is almost impossible to find a workplace without some pressure to perform. Even the most laid-back job has its own unique set of pressures. How we deal with that pressure determines how successful we are.
How to handle pressure at work?
No one approach works for everyone when handling pressure at work. It is because some people work best under pressure and find it motivating, while others find it debilitating and prefer to avoid it if possible.
The fact is many people cannot handle stress at work, and the reason is that they are not prepared for it. They do not have the skills to deal with it and stay productive. However, a few things can help people thrive in an environment where they are constantly under pressure.
Here are 15 examples of working under pressure to meet deadlines
1. Keep a Time Log
You can save time by tracking how you spend it. This is something that a lot of people do not do, but it makes sense. By keeping a time log, you can quickly see where you are spending most of your time and where you can cut it down.
It is beneficial if you find yourself bogged down in non-essential tasks or feel you need to be more productive with your time.
2. Avoid multitasking
Try to avoid multitasking as much as possible. Multitasking may seem efficient, but it can lead to mistakes since many of us need to improve at doing two things simultaneously.
Instead, try to focus on one task at a time and give it your undivided attention. This will prevent mistakes and ensure meeting the critical deadline.
3. Take a step back
It may seem counterintuitive, but stepping back or taking breaks can help you save time.
When you feel overwhelmed or bogged down, taking a few minutes to step away from your work can help clear your head and allow you to come back refreshed and ready to tackle the task.
Such a break may give you a new perspective on completing the task more efficiently or effectively.
Ensure your break does not become too long or procrastination sessions – you will risk losing momentum and falling further behind schedule.
4. Be willing to compromise
Compromising does not mean you have to settle for something that is not ideal – it just means that you are willing to find a middle ground that works for everyone involved.
In other words, it simply means that you are ready to adjust your plans and compromise according to the situation.
The goal is to find a way to get the job done without sacrificing quality. Remember, negotiating and adjusting are okay if everyone is happy with the result.
5. Develop grit and resilience
The pressure of working under a tight deadline can be intense, but it is also an opportunity to develop grit and resilience. Grit is the passion and determination to continue working towards your goals regardless of obstacles.
And resilience is the ability to bounce back from disappointment or failure. It is the capacity to pick yourself up after a setback and try again.
While setbacks are frustrating, they are part of working under pressure. We find new ways to overcome challenges and achieve our goals under pressure.
So, do not let setbacks get you down or derail your progress – instead, see them as an opportunity to learn and grow stronger. Success is not about avoiding setbacks. It is about overcoming them.
6. Avoid complacency
Complacency means taking things for granted and becoming satisfied with the status quo, even when there are still opportunities for improvement.
In an environment where deadlines are tight, and the pressure is on, it is easy to become complacent, and stagnation can set in. This often leads to mistakes and needing to complete work correctly or on time.
The best way to avoid complacency is to stay vigilant or proactive. Constantly look for ways to improve your work and team, and never be satisfied with the status quo.
Also read: 14 Examples of Can Do Attitude
7. Work harder
No question that working under pressure can be a challenge, but it can also be a source of motivation that helps you to work harder than ever before.
When you feel the heat of a looming deadline, your adrenaline kicks in — the pressure can help to focus your mind and push you to achieve more.
Of course, you can let the pressure stay manageable. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break and regroup.
But overall, the sense of urgency that comes with working under pressure can often be what you need to work harder and get the job done.
The sense of urgency creates a sense of importance in your work. You feel more inclined to put in that extra effort to work faster and harder and get the job done or move on to the next task.
8. Put aside your personal feelings
When you are under pressure, it is easy to start making excuses or let your emotions get in the way of your thinking instead of being rational.
In a nutshell, rational thinking under pressure means setting aside your personal feelings and biases to make the most logical decision possible. It is crucial in a crisis to stay level-headed and think so you can make the best possible judgment.
9. Maintain a sense of accountability
Regardless of the external circumstances or how busy you are, always maintain a strong sense of accountability and take ownership of your work. This means completing all tasks to the best of your ability.
You also must be honest with yourself and others about what you can realistically achieve within the set timeframe. Work pressure can often lead to wrong priorities, rushed decisions, and sloppy work.
However, maintaining a strong sense of accountability will make you less likely to cut corners or make excuses. And if something goes wrong, own up to your mistakes and take corrective action.
Having a sense of accountability goes beyond simply taking responsibility for your actions. It also means understanding your expectations and holding yourself and others accountable.
Related: 12 Examples of Resilience at Work
10. Keep a positive attitude
It is easy to become negative when your work gets hectic, and the pressure is on, but staying positive and focusing on the job is always helpful.
A positive attitude will help you stay motivated. At the same time, a negative attitude will only make things more difficult.
Panicking or becoming overwhelmed will only aggravate the situation and make it more challenging to meet the deadline.
Maintaining a positive attitude can also set the mood for those around you, which can help them stay calm and productive.
Lastly, being positive does not mean pretending everything is okay when it is not. It is not easy to remain calm under pressure, but it reveals who can handle difficult situations without losing their composure.
11. Work around your limitations
One thing that can keep you calm when working under pressure is knowing your capabilities and limitations. If you know what you can and cannot do, you can plan your work accordingly and manage yourself better.
If you know you work best during morning hours, do the most challenging or essential morning tasks. Then, as the day goes on, start transitioning to the less demanding tasks.
Knowing your abilities puts you in a much better position to handle difficult situations calmly under pressure.
12. Be proactive
Be proactive rather than reactive when working under pressure to meet a critical deadline. For example, anticipate potential problems and have backup plans before they occur.
Rework your timeline so that you are always working ahead of schedule, and plan for contingencies in case of unexpected delays.
Always plan for potential setbacks and have a backup plan ready to go just in case something unexpected comes up. Nothing is worse than feeling pressured and not having a plan B to fall back on.
So, make sure you know your backup plan, and be prepared to execute it if things do not go according to plan.
Read also: 21 Good Examples of Accountability
One of the best ways to save time is to delegate tasks to other team members. It can be difficult if you are used to doing everything yourself, but remember that delegation does not mean giving up control — it just means making better use of the available resources.
When delegating tasks, give clear instructions and deadlines so that the person or people you are delegating know what to do. And do not forget — delegating does not mean surrendering responsibility for a task altogether.
You should still check in periodically to ensure the job is completed as instructed and on track to meet its deadline.
14. Make a list of priorities
Your top priority should always be to complete the most critical tasks first. Priorities may include meeting deadlines, keeping costs down, or preserving the quality of your work.
But remember, you can only do some things at a time, so focus on the most important tasks and let the others wait.
So prioritizing will help you stay focused and prevent you from getting sidetracked by less important tasks. Once you have created your list, stick to it as much as possible.
It can be tempting to deviate from your list when you are feeling overwhelmed, but if you do that, you will end up wasting time on things that are not important.
15. Know your responsibilities
All jobs have their quirks. In some professions, you might have to wear a particular outfit or work specific hours.
In others, you may be required to do specialized tasks or meet particular deadlines. But in all jobs, there are always those who take their responsibilities seriously and those who do not.
For many positions, meeting tight deadlines is essential for success. If you cannot handle the pressure or are unwilling to put in the effort, you will likely get weeded out.
Conversely, those who thrive under pressure and are determined to succeed will usually find a way to accomplish what is asked of them — even if it means working long hours.
Working under pressure can be both a challenge and a rewarding experience. The challenge comes from meeting a tight deadline in a demanding environment.
But the sense of satisfaction that comes from meeting a deadline under pressure can be gratifying, and it can be a great feeling to know that you have accomplished something despite the challenges.
So, whether it is a challenging or rewarding experience, working under pressure to meet a deadline is something everyone will encounter at some point in their work lives.
And with the right attitude and approach, it is possible to make the most of this experience and learn from it.
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