How To Thrive, Not Just Survive in High Stress Environments
You love the adrenaline rush you get from working in a high-stress environment. But sometimes you just want flip over your desk and storm out. Finding that middle ground between non-stop action and mind-numbing boredom can be challenging. You do not want to slow down, or you feel like you cannot slow down if you want to thrive. Take a deep breath. The tips below will help you learn how to “stress for success.”
Time management is your friend
You know all that stress you feel when a deadline is looming, and you still have hours of work left to complete? Yes, it is great when you hand in that project two minutes before the cut-off time. But all that anxiety you have built up along the way is not doing your mind or your body any favors.
If you rely on the thrill of crossing the finish line at the last minute for motivation, you are eventually going to find you cannot keep up that pace forever. No one can go at high speed all the time and not get burned out. So instead of spending your day rushing for a rush, try padding your schedule with a little room for downtime. Sure, things will probably come up that absorb that time. And if they do, you will find yourself right on schedule instead of behind. If they don’t, you actually get some much-needed time to breathe. Win-win.
Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.
Prioritization should be at the top of your list for thriving in a high-stress environment. Since you obviously can’t do everything at once, you need to make sure you get the most important tasks done first. Before you say “Thank you, Captain Obvious” take a look at what you do, not just what you know. Just because you have every intention of prioritizing, ask yourself: does it actually happen? If a friend asks you to look over their report “real quick” even though you have piles of work on your own desk, do you accommodate your buddy, or do you stick with your original priorities? If you are doing the former, it’s time to make some changes.
Delegating is not passing the buck
Assigning all your work to your subordinates is a form of shirking your responsibilities. However, that’s not what delegating is. Being able to delegate effectively is a hallmark of great leadership. It is also a great way to take some of the pressure off your shoulders. If you work with people who are qualified and meticulous, there is no reason not to let them take some of the load off. If you work with people who you cannot trust to do the job right, that is probably one of the reasons you are so stressed. If you have the power to rotate your staff, do it. If not, talk to someone who does.
Keep meltdowns to a minimum
If you let the stress build up inside you like a time bomb, it is going to go off at the most inopportune times, and nobody wants to witness a full-on meltdown. You know your job is stressful. So, do not try to pretend like it is not. If you really want to thrive in a high stress environment, you need take care of your mind and your body on a regular basis.
Try deep breathing exercise, mindfulness therapy, yoga, lifting weights, whatever works. Also, keep things in perspective. Most issues are probably not as serious as you are making them out to be. If you feel like exploding on a coworker who made a mistake, walk away, and talk to them later when you are calmer and less aggravated. Simply put, keep your cool and maintain control.
Whether your job is occasionally hectic or a non-stop stress fest, if you want to do more than survive the chaos—if you want to thrive—you need to have a plan. Follow the advice given here and you will come out on top, no worse for wear.