6 Ways to Deal with Pressure to Perform
Feeling stressed? Of course you are. You have too much on your plate, deadlines are looming, and to top it all off, people are counting on you. You are under a lot of pressure to perform, so much that at times you suspect the quality of your work suffers for it. This is life in the modern workplace. It is more or less impossible to be any kind of professional these days and not experience frequent bouts of intense stress. The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is not whether or not you suffer from stress, but how you deal with it when you do. Many people worry that the stress can be too much, but there are healthy and meaningful ways to manage it.
Having self-compassion essentially allows you to cut yourself some slack. It’s being willing to look at your mistakes with kindness and understanding, without harsh criticism or defensiveness. Studies show that people who are self-compassionate are happier, more optimistic, and less anxious and depressed. That’s probably not surprising, but the idea that they are more successful too may be. Rather than being hard on ourselves to perform at our best, a dose of self-compassion when things are at their most difficult can reduce stress and improve performance by making it easier to learn from your mistakes.
Remember the big picture
Thinking ‘big picture’ about your work can be motivating in the face of stress, because you will be linking one particular, often small action to a greater meaning or purpose. Something that may not seem important or valuable on its own gets cast in a whole new light. So when staying that extra hour at work at the end of an exhausting day to plan your workload for the rest of the week, try to consider it as ‘displaying my commitment to my career’ rather than ‘working back’ – you’ll be much more likely to want to stay put, get organised and work hard.
Schedule your to-do list
You no doubt have a to-do list which, whether it be electronic or handwritten, is the centre of your working world. Often days or even weeks can pass by without a single item getting checked off. That’s stressful enough. Deciding in advance when and where you will complete a task can double or triple your chances of actually doing it. So treat your to-do tasks like you would meetings, and schedule them in to your days. This will also help to ensure you don’t overcommit to things you can’t realistically achieve.
Take care of your body
Getting the proper amount of sleep is one of the most important things you can do to ensure optimal cognitive function and mood. You’ve no doubt heard it all before, but that’s because it’s a truly effective method. So sleep well, eat well and exercise when you can – you’ll feel calmer.
Take five minutes to do something of interest to you
Research shows that doing something of particular interest to you can actually keep you going despite fatigue, and replenish your energy levels. This interesting task should not be relaxing, but instead should challenge you, which will replenish your energy and flow into whatever you do next.
Ask for help
No one can handle everything alone, and truly successful people understand that. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your trusted network, co-workers or even your manager for assistance when situations are getting out of control. You will not be judged by your peers, and no doubt will be more than willing to be there for your team when they need help too.
What do you think?
There are healthy and meaningful coping methods to deal with stress. What are yours? I’m interested to explore how your outlook on life improves your sense of calm and confidence.
This article was written by Megan Baker and Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Entrepreneur; Harvard Business Review and Inc.