Deadlines, project changes, unforeseen obstacles, critical outages are only a few of the stressful issues that can arise in the IT world. We face these circumstances often and can feel a great deal of pressure to get them taken care of.
“Pressure – The stress or urgency of matters demanding attention, The burden of physical or mental distress, The constraint of circumstances.”
Working under pressure involves dealing with circumstances that can be constrained by time, resources, the difficultly of the task, all of these and more. It involves the stress that comes from dealing with a matter that must be taken care of on time. This pressure can lead to physical or mental distress.
The first step in learning how to work under pressure is to maintain control. For some pressure brings up emotions that can cloud decision-making and inhibit your ability to deal with a problem. If you cannot set your emotions aside take those emotions and turn them into the energy needed to deal with the situation.
Evaluate The Issue
Before you jump into action you must first evaluate the issue.
Be sure you know exactly what the issue is before you try to resolve it. On the surface it may seem like one thing, when in fact there is an underlying cause. By jumping to conclusions and acting on the wrong issue you may in fact make it worse. Ask the important questions who, what, when, where, why to get to the root of the problem.
Once you know what the issue is then determine the priority. Is it a high priority that must be dealt with immediately?
Have a Plan
The post “How a Proactive IT Manager Can Handle Any Crisis” details how important it is to have a plan or processes for dealing with a crisis already in place. When a crisis arises that puts you under pressure you execute the plan. Each step is outlined and everyone knows what they are supposed to do.
When There Is No Plan
There are times when something arises that there is no plan for. In these cases the best way to deal with it is a step-by-step process. Learning how to work under pressure means sometimes you have to work without a net.
- Determine what the issue is and document all the circumstances surrounding it.
- Determine how critical it is. This will determine how quickly it must be dealt with.
- Create a simple to-do list for each step that needs to be done to resolve it.
- Once you know the steps then it is just a matter of doing them or delegating them.
Anytime you deal with something for which you had no plan for after the issue is resolved write down everything while it is still fresh in your mind. You can use these notes later to create a step-by-step plan for dealing with that issue should it arise in the future.
- 5 Ways to Stay Positive in Negative Situations
- How To Deal With Stress at Work
- Do You Manage Like an Out of Control Bus Driver?
How to work under pressure can be summed up into three steps.
- Maintain control
- Evaluate the issue
- Execute the plan or prepare and execute the plan if no plan exist
You can relieve the stress of working under pressure by knowing what steps to take to deal with any situation that can arise. Being pro-active by having plans in place for common issues can make sure they are dealt with promptly and relieve the stress of working under pressure.
The more you have to work under pressure, the better you get at it. This builds confidence that you can deal with anything that arises. This confidence can relieve the stress and help reduce the emotions that can come up when working under pressure.