How to Manage Work Pressure

Reviewed Jul 27, 2018

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Summary

  • Control your emotional response.
  • Stay focused.

How can you keep your cool and maintain productivity when working in a pressure-cooker environment? Try a combination of strategies that help manage both acute and ongoing work pressures.

Dealing with acute pressure

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re dealing with competing priorities or a fast-approaching deadline—particularly when “surprises” that come up steal your attention away from the task at hand.

These ideas will help you handle immediate crises:

  • Bust that stress! You might feel like you don’t have time to let off steam. But doing so will help you stay calm and be sensible in your approach to the high-pressure situation.

Quick, stress-busting techniques you can do at your desk include deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation.

  • Control your emotional response. “The thoughts you think determine the emotions you experience,” writes Brian Tracy, author of Crunch Point. So, if you take control of your thoughts, you can control your reaction. For example, self-defeating thoughts such as “I’m never going to get this done” or “I’m not good enough” will serve to delay and hold back productivity.
  • Stay focused. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, suggests giving your full attention to one thing at a time. If you are interrupted by something that will take you two minutes or less, take care of it right away.

To help you prioritize and stay focused, Tracy advises asking yourself these questions:

  • What is really important in this situation?
  • If I could only do one thing, what would it be?
  • What does this situation need of me that only I can contribute?
  • Can somebody else handle this?

Managing ongoing work pressure

Consider these ideas for keeping stress at bay:

  • Get organized and clear your head. It’s hard to be productive when our minds are “full.” When you have many deadlines, priorities and to-dos— both at work and at home and of varying levels of importance—you have a steady source of mental stress that interrupts and hinders your productivity at work.

Allen says that having an organizational system that captures these loose items will free your mind to focus on the task at hand. Although there is no single “right” way to get organized, find a system that works for you so you can be a top performer while keeping track of it all.

  • Maintain work/life balance. Simple habits such as getting enough sleep and eating right can make a big difference to how you face the workday each morning.

Also, giving serious thought to what renews your spirit—such as spending time with your children—and carving out time for these priorities can reduce job pressure and keep you productive. 

By Christine P. Martin
Source: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen. Penguin, 2001; Crunch Point: The 21 Secrets to Succeeding When It Matters Most by Brian Tracy. AMACOM, 2006; Making Work Work: New Strategies for Surviving and Thriving at the Office by Julie Morgenstern. Simon & Schuster, 2004; Anxious 9 to 5: How to Beat Worry, Stop Second-guessing Yourself, and Work With Confidence by Larina Kase and Joe Vitale. New Harbinger, 2006; The Relaxation and Stress-reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay. New Harbinger, 2000.

Summary

  • Control your emotional response.
  • Stay focused.

How can you keep your cool and maintain productivity when working in a pressure-cooker environment? Try a combination of strategies that help manage both acute and ongoing work pressures.

Dealing with acute pressure

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re dealing with competing priorities or a fast-approaching deadline—particularly when “surprises” that come up steal your attention away from the task at hand.

These ideas will help you handle immediate crises:

  • Bust that stress! You might feel like you don’t have time to let off steam. But doing so will help you stay calm and be sensible in your approach to the high-pressure situation.

Quick, stress-busting techniques you can do at your desk include deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation.

  • Control your emotional response. “The thoughts you think determine the emotions you experience,” writes Brian Tracy, author of Crunch Point. So, if you take control of your thoughts, you can control your reaction. For example, self-defeating thoughts such as “I’m never going to get this done” or “I’m not good enough” will serve to delay and hold back productivity.
  • Stay focused. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, suggests giving your full attention to one thing at a time. If you are interrupted by something that will take you two minutes or less, take care of it right away.

To help you prioritize and stay focused, Tracy advises asking yourself these questions:

  • What is really important in this situation?
  • If I could only do one thing, what would it be?
  • What does this situation need of me that only I can contribute?
  • Can somebody else handle this?

Managing ongoing work pressure

Consider these ideas for keeping stress at bay:

  • Get organized and clear your head. It’s hard to be productive when our minds are “full.” When you have many deadlines, priorities and to-dos— both at work and at home and of varying levels of importance—you have a steady source of mental stress that interrupts and hinders your productivity at work.

Allen says that having an organizational system that captures these loose items will free your mind to focus on the task at hand. Although there is no single “right” way to get organized, find a system that works for you so you can be a top performer while keeping track of it all.

  • Maintain work/life balance. Simple habits such as getting enough sleep and eating right can make a big difference to how you face the workday each morning.

Also, giving serious thought to what renews your spirit—such as spending time with your children—and carving out time for these priorities can reduce job pressure and keep you productive. 

By Christine P. Martin
Source: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen. Penguin, 2001; Crunch Point: The 21 Secrets to Succeeding When It Matters Most by Brian Tracy. AMACOM, 2006; Making Work Work: New Strategies for Surviving and Thriving at the Office by Julie Morgenstern. Simon & Schuster, 2004; Anxious 9 to 5: How to Beat Worry, Stop Second-guessing Yourself, and Work With Confidence by Larina Kase and Joe Vitale. New Harbinger, 2006; The Relaxation and Stress-reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay. New Harbinger, 2000.

Summary

  • Control your emotional response.
  • Stay focused.

How can you keep your cool and maintain productivity when working in a pressure-cooker environment? Try a combination of strategies that help manage both acute and ongoing work pressures.

Dealing with acute pressure

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re dealing with competing priorities or a fast-approaching deadline—particularly when “surprises” that come up steal your attention away from the task at hand.

These ideas will help you handle immediate crises:

  • Bust that stress! You might feel like you don’t have time to let off steam. But doing so will help you stay calm and be sensible in your approach to the high-pressure situation.

Quick, stress-busting techniques you can do at your desk include deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation.

  • Control your emotional response. “The thoughts you think determine the emotions you experience,” writes Brian Tracy, author of Crunch Point. So, if you take control of your thoughts, you can control your reaction. For example, self-defeating thoughts such as “I’m never going to get this done” or “I’m not good enough” will serve to delay and hold back productivity.
  • Stay focused. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, suggests giving your full attention to one thing at a time. If you are interrupted by something that will take you two minutes or less, take care of it right away.

To help you prioritize and stay focused, Tracy advises asking yourself these questions:

  • What is really important in this situation?
  • If I could only do one thing, what would it be?
  • What does this situation need of me that only I can contribute?
  • Can somebody else handle this?

Managing ongoing work pressure

Consider these ideas for keeping stress at bay:

  • Get organized and clear your head. It’s hard to be productive when our minds are “full.” When you have many deadlines, priorities and to-dos— both at work and at home and of varying levels of importance—you have a steady source of mental stress that interrupts and hinders your productivity at work.

Allen says that having an organizational system that captures these loose items will free your mind to focus on the task at hand. Although there is no single “right” way to get organized, find a system that works for you so you can be a top performer while keeping track of it all.

  • Maintain work/life balance. Simple habits such as getting enough sleep and eating right can make a big difference to how you face the workday each morning.

Also, giving serious thought to what renews your spirit—such as spending time with your children—and carving out time for these priorities can reduce job pressure and keep you productive. 

By Christine P. Martin
Source: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen. Penguin, 2001; Crunch Point: The 21 Secrets to Succeeding When It Matters Most by Brian Tracy. AMACOM, 2006; Making Work Work: New Strategies for Surviving and Thriving at the Office by Julie Morgenstern. Simon & Schuster, 2004; Anxious 9 to 5: How to Beat Worry, Stop Second-guessing Yourself, and Work With Confidence by Larina Kase and Joe Vitale. New Harbinger, 2006; The Relaxation and Stress-reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay. New Harbinger, 2000.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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