How To Work Under Pressure

office-workers In the IT world working under pressure is a daily event. Knowing the steps to take when faced with an issue can lessen the stress of working under pressure.

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.

Maintain Control

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.

  1. Determine what the issue is and document all the circumstances surrounding it.
  2. Determine how critical it is. This will determine how quickly it must be dealt with.
  3. Create a simple to-do list for each step that needs to be done to resolve it.
  4. 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.


Take Away

How to work under pressure can be summed up into three steps.

  1. Maintain control
  2. Evaluate the issue
  3. 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.


  1. hannah Miao says

    very pragmatic, i searched it for interview, but i found it really help in real life!


  2. Robert says

    So while researching •5 Ways to Stay Positive in Negative Situations
    I clicked the link for this article (both very insightful) but what was most shocking is that this site is for IT Managers! While I was trying to find ways to cope with stress at my current job, as a waiter in a corporate restaurant with alot of pressure, I am currently studying for an IT career! LOL! Just finishied my netplus portion of the program and started the server side of things. Feels like I jumped into the deep end of he pool! Well I have added this site to my favorites and will return again I’m sure! Thanks!

    • says

      Don’t be shocked! IT managers face pressure each day. I’m the type that thrives under pressure and loves challenges. Guess that is one reason I love my job and working in IT so much.

  3. FocusA1 says

    Thank you all for positive concerns in such a competitive, complicated and stressful society today. I am just getting started in the very busy world of finance and billing. In the medical field, it is well understood that stress is one of many causes of sicknesses, health problems and is a sure factor leading to certain deaths. On this note, learning mastering how to work under pressure is the key to success.