Looming deadlines, grouchy bosses, back-stabbing colleagues, and other workplace problems may cause even the best of us to lose our cool. Before we know it, we become victims of depression, anxiety, stress, and the list goes on. Now the thing is, work is hardly ever fun (except for some lucky folks), and you got to really give your 200% in order to achieve your goals and earn yourself a reputation. The problem is we need to accept this fact and learn to develop methods to cope up with the stress. We can’t just hope to, “get over it,” or believe that it will get better because it won’t. Like other harsh realities of life, the workplace is one such reality that we have been running from and refuse to confront head-on. The reason why we are always stressed and angry lies in our refusal of work being inherently stressful and imperfect. We are always trying to seek for that perfect job with a great boss, happy-go-lucky colleagues, friendly hours, understanding management, etc., and sadly, we always fail.
So if you’re currently feeling low about work and are trying to manage workplace pressure, then the first step to start with is to stop wishful thinking. In order to attain peace, you have to face the prevalent chaos. How do you that? Here are some essential tips to manage workplace pressure.
Keeping Calm and Using Logical Reasoning
Do not ever follow SomeEcards’ sarcastic advice literally! This may seem funny but it’s actually quite true. Employees react to pressure, take on a negative stance or start ranting about it on social media. Before you do something like that, STOP. Before you send that email, STOP. Before you submit that resignation, STOP. Yes, stop and think. Re-evaluate your situation and decide if it’s the logical thing that you’re doing.
Keep calm - the key to solving any problem is to keep calm. It’s like driving; if you lose cool, you lose control of the situation. Similarly, at work, when you have a mounting pressure of meeting deadlines or dealing with unsupportive colleagues, keeping calm is extremely important. When you’re calm, you can figure out a way to do your work quickly and effectively. When you’re calm, you have a stronger hand on the opponent. The moment you react and let people or work get to your nerves, you are essentially handing over your lifeline. People can spot your vulnerability, know what can trigger your reaction and can easily blame you for anything that goes bad. So if you want to have the upper hand, always remain calm and use logical reasoning. When you’re angry or upset, drink a glass of cold water, munch on a chocolate, breathe, get out of the workplace if you can and try to relax. You can always make decisions later and probably handle the situation better.
Stay Organized and Keep Records
If you stay organized, you won’t have a hard time facing pressure. Chaos occurs when you don’t have a plan. These days, we have amazing apps and tools that can help us utilize and plan our time wisely. This is especially important for projects where there is a need for defined processes. For example, if you are charged with managing a social media account, then what is your weekly schedule? Do you have all your weekly posts ready? Now imagine, if you didn’t have this plan ready and your boss asks you to run an ad-hoc 2-day campaign. How would you manage? If you had the plan, you’d simply move things around and have a record of activities. But now that you don’t, the first thing you feel is pressure. So always have a plan, stay organized, and keep records of everything you do. People have lost jobs simply because they could not provide any evidence of the work they performed. And you don’t need sophisticated project management skills for this - Google Office Suite or Microsoft Office Suite works best.
Break Down Tasks Into Achievable Chunks
You only panic when you look at your task as an unachievable whole. It’s like cramming for an exam, you can’t learn anything if you try to memorize a whole page of text in one go. You need to break that page content into paragraphs and try to memorize it one paragraph at a time. Similarly, with work, you need to break the task into chunks. Do not attempt to finish it all in one go. You’ll only get demotivated and will lose focus. If for example, you have to proofread a 100-page document in two days, don’t try to think about the length of it. Take it one page at a time, focusing only on what you need to do. Avoid scrolling up and down, avoid thinking about how ‘tiring’ it is, and avoid worrying about meeting the deadline. Just work. You’ll get done with it way before your deadline.
When we attempt to take in the big picture and try to think too much about the extensiveness of the task, we fail to be productive. Additionally, the more you think, the more you become anxious and eventually fall to unnecessary pressure. And what happens next? You either miss a deadline, or you miss your peace of mind. Keep calm, stay organized, work smart.
Avoid Distractions at All Costs
Trying to accomplish a task by scrolling social media? Trying to meet a deadline but still talking to a colleague? These are distractions that will affect your productivity and mess up your time at work. Plug in your headphones, listen to some great music, and get your work done. Avoid browsing social media by using apps such as ColdTurkey that prevents you from opening the sites. They act as temporary firewalls that block all social media sites and help you retain focus on your work.
Smartphones are a major distraction. We literally check our phones at least 300 times a day! Thankfully, though, if constantly picking up your phone and attending to it is a distraction, then you can install apps that work wonders in preventing chronic phone addiction. These apps have multiple functions or challenges that work to control your smartphone addiction and help you avoid chronic addiction and let you focus on what matters. When you lose focus and are constantly distracted, you are inviting trouble. You are not able to finish tasks on time and you’re constantly stressed. Ain’t no fun working that way?
Stop Procrastinating like Hamlet
Ok, so thinking about a task always makes it tough. In fact, thinking about it is so problematic, that you’ll always procrastinate. Remember Hamlet? Always thinking. Well, procrastinating is actually a lot to do with thinking. So instead of thinking about the best time to do it, just get to it and finish it. The moment you start, you’ll be fine. It’s pretty much like exercise. When we keep thinking, we won’t ever achieve our goals. We have to move, make it happen and once we make it happen, we’ll be glad we got it over soon!
Procrastination is the recipe for stress. If you procrastinate today, tomorrow you will be in stress; if you procrastinate tomorrow, day after tomorrow, you’ll be in panic mode. So try to get today’s things done today. You’ll thank yourself for it tomorrow as you get time to work on other tasks or probably be able to get off work early and enjoy a drink with friends!
Continuously Develop Your Skills
Most of us become complacent in our jobs and our lives. We no longer challenge ourselves to doing anything that is different or helpful for our growth. When was the last time you spent some time learning something new? When was the last time you tried developing your skills and take it a step further? This may sound strange but when you try to develop your skills and enhance your learning, you are keeping your mind off unnecessary workplace issues and simply focusing on self-growth.
Learning is therapeutic. When you’ve got that certification, when you’ve got that project rolling, when you’ve got knowledge that others don’t, you’re elevating your position in the organization. Employers want learners who give their best to self-growth and so you get more respect and perhaps more challenging and entertaining work. If you have free time at work, don’t waste it browsing social media or watching cat videos - invest in self-growth and that alone will help you deal with cognitive pressures of self-worth, of skills, and many others.