Most people feel a lot of stress at work. The stress of working under deadline pressure may have a positive effect on your productivity in the short run, however; in the long run, it can make all your efforts go in vain. According to a study by Stress.org, more than a quarter of employees said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work”.
To avoid burnout and minimize stress, you need to learn how to stay focused and solve problems effectively. Read on to learn about the top 5 ways to stay productive in a period of deadline pressure.
Doing Your Best Under Deadline Pressure
While we all bring our own unique skills to the table both at work and at home, humans are actually quite similar when it comes to productivity. HR experts now claim that humans utilize a common set of productivity techniques when we’re feeling the pressure of a looming deadline.
The study also states that deadlines can impact productivity in a positive way if you learn how to deal with work under stress. But what exactly are these productivity techniques? And how can you apply these to help your team? Keep reading and you’ll find out!
Staying Productive Under Pressure
1. Determine Priorities
While working under pressure, your team realistically won’t manage completing all tasks at once. That’s why you need to determine priorities and complete tasks according to importance. Have your team divide work into four categories:
- Important and urgent: these tasks come first and must be done immediately. Everything else comes second.
- Urgent but not important: These tasks can be delegated to those that aren’t working on the tier one: important and urgent tasks. Otherwise, they come second to all important and urgent tasks.
- Important but not urgent: Now we are in a more peaceful territory, which means that much of the pressure has gone already. Tasks under this category would be something along the lines of nurturing client relationships or updating CRM.
- Not important and not urgent: Don’t get confused by the title: everything your team does is important for the big picture. Updating a LinkedIn picture or listening to a podcast is helpful but neither important nor urgent.
2. Stop Multitasking
As a leader, make sure you’re not expecting your team to do several things at once in order to stay afloat. This will not boost productivity under deadline pressure: it will destroy it.
According to David Strayer, director of the applied cognition lab at the University of Utah, only 2% of people can multitask successfully. The other 98% are swimming against the current.
Multitasking mistakes doesn’t just happen with difficult tasks. Even simple operations like writing emails or answering phone calls cannot be done 100% right if your team cannot concentrate on it.
3. Eliminate distractions
Much of our everyday work is interrupted by frequent messaging, phones calls, or social networks. You don’t want to micromanage your team, but make sure they understand how much time distractions like these actually waste.
4. Delegate duties
As a manager, it’s extremely important that you relieve some of your own pressure and deadlines by delegating tasks to your team. Work overload decreased productivity by 68% when people don’t have enough time. Equip both your team and yourself to get things done with minimal stress and maximum support.
5. Imagine an outcome
Having an optimal outcome planned out is a great way to reduce pressure. This will not only help you and your team prioritize tasks, it will help you stay on the right track if things do go wrong. You will fall behind on work sometimes. Computers will crash – documents will be deleted by mistake. It’s important to know the big picture to help you and your team stay focused and productive – even when things go wrong.
Working while stress is very demanding. It requires full focus and dedication – which may not be possible when you’re scrambling to reach deadlines all the time.
You know what is possible? Working to maintain efficiency even when you are running out of time. All it takes is preparation, delegation, and prioritization.
Olivia is a passionate blogger who writes on topics of digital marketing, career, and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on different websites like CFS and Aussie Writings. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.