With the world around us in crisis without a clear end in sight, it may feel that we are under more pressure than ever before. Deadlines loom even whilst we’re in the middle of a global high-stress event, and it may feel impossible to complete everything we need to finish with these kinds of stresses hanging over our head. Keeping a steady head under all that pressure is key to achieving goals and accomplishing tasks. Here are our favorite tips for keeping a clear head:
1. Conduct a “threat” assessment When you feel that pressure and stress coming on, instead of following a spiral of dread and doubt, ask yourself a few key questions to get a handle on the situation: What kind of problem is this really? Is it something that requires immediate action? Is there someone you can ask for help if you need it? Knowing the answers to these questions will help put things in perspective.
2. Make a plan It’s easy to get swept away with the sense that things need to be completed immediately or that there isn’t enough time to properly plan your next steps, but in reality careful planning at the beginning of a task ensures not only that you don’t waste time but that you complete the task with fewer mistakes and roadblocks.
3. Take it one step at a time When you take time to make a plan, you enable yourself to break a task down to its simplest steps. Once you have the steps broken down, it’s easy to follow them, one step at a time, until the project is complete without feeling the weight of an entire project in a single moment.
4. Take breaks and celebrate your wins It can be all too easy to move from one task to the next to the next, eternally moving forward trying to get or stay ahead of the game. This can quickly lead to feeling drained and frustrated, so take a minute in your day to slow down and celebrate your wins. Even if a final project isn’t completed, just getting a few key steps finished is a big accomplishment. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a little relaxation time or to take a walk or coffee break when you need it. We all deserve a little extra compassion, especially during these trying times.
If you’re experiencing extra stress and feeling extra pressure during this time, know that you’re not alone. Navigating this new normal requires patience and self-compassion. We hope you will take some of these tips and make them work for you.