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How To Perform When You Are Under Pressure?

It is very difficult to perform when you are under pressure at work or in your business. The pressure may be created by a tight deadline, by doing something you have never done before, by poor business and financial performance, by being promoted into a more senior position, by a system failure or by many other things. Whatever the cause of the pressure it is easy to worry, be fearful, get stressed, feel anxious and panic which can all impact your performance negatively.

We have therefore put together some tips and ideas as to how to perform when you are under pressure at work or in your business:

Keep calm. This is easier said than done when you are feeling under pressure. When you first feel under pressure it may be helpful to take a break from where you are and move into a different space e.g. go for a walk so you can think things through clearly and without interruption.

Reflect on your knowledge and experience. Think about how you have dealt with similar situations and experiences in the past. Consider and use the knowledge and experience that can help you with the current pressure you are under. Trust your intuition to guide you with decision making. Seek out others who have the relevant knowledge and experience to help you.

Think positively and be realistic. With a positive approach you will feel in control and confident and you will perform at your best, whereas a negative approach will damage confidence, harm performance and paralyse your mental skills. Being positive is not enough on its own, you also need to be realistic about the situation.

Gain perspective. Consider the pressure you are under from different angles and perspectives. Find out as much information as possible about what is happening and what needs to be done. Put the situation into overall context of the business and your life as well. Consider the worst and best possible outcomes to understand what you are dealing with. Something that can initially seem like the end of the world is often much smaller and of less importance than you first thought.

Make a plan. When you are under pressure it is very easy to start taking action without thinking the whole thing through. Make a plan with all those concerned, broken down into smaller more manageable steps. Be flexible and prepared to change your plan as things progress.

Take action. Pressure can lead to inaction and paralysis which is no good for you or the business. Once you have a plan start taking action, which in itself will help calm you and others down, as well as relieve some of the pressure as you start moving forward towards a successful outcome.

Be decisive. Another impact of pressure is indecision, which is very unhelpful. Be decisive and take decisions in a timely and considered way. The combination of a plan, action and decisiveness will all help you manage the pressure.

Focus on completing each step in the plan. When you are under pressure you can get overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the situation, especially when you consider the worst case scenarios. A good way to help with this is to focus on completing each step in the plan. Keep your mind on the task in hand and don't let it keep wondering about the outcome.

Consider your thinking. How you think impacts how you feel, so if you are feeling bad, you have probably been thinking in an unhelpful way. When you are under pressure your mind can start catastrophising, over generalising, filtering out helpful information and ignoring the positives. Pay attention to your thinking and where it is unhelpful to the current situation look at changing your thinking. See our article Considering The Way You Think.

Take notes. When you are under pressure it is easy to forget things and get confused. Making notes and writing things down will help you to feel in control and also help you to understand the current situation.

Ask for help and support. If you are finding the pressure too much ask for help and support from your team, colleagues or experts.

Hopefully the above tips and ideas will help you if you are feeling under pressure.

Author: Liz Makin
Published: May 2016

Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.


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