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Working under pressure

Many of us complete our best work when our back is against the wall or have a deadline. For others, it’s a nightmare, and they fold under pressure. So, how can you perform better when feeling under duress? Let’s find out.

Working under pressure


When you identify critical differences between CEOs and their companies’ success, prioritization sits atop the list and is typically the outlier. The ability to decide the importance, urgency, and timeliness of something needing to be done take years of experience to acquire. Yes, bright minds can often distinguish which tasks need to go ahead of others, but they aren’t always consistent. One decision could be the difference between a 100,000 dollars of debt or a Fortune 500 company when it comes to running a business.

It’s best when you also use your prioritization to change the way you think about pressure. By planning ahead of time and separating your tasks by level of importance and value, you should have instilled confidence in yourself to get the job done. Often, there is pressure on ourselves when we put it there. Now, that can be a productive thing, if you let it. A little pressure can increase performance as it urges us not to sit idly by and begin to procrastinate. Strive to find a balance between allowing your preparation to fuel you to do better while not placing so much on your plate that you set yourself up for failure.

Focus on the present

Let’s say you have a significant project at work that needs to be completed in a week. At this point, the pressure has been put on you, and you have little to no time to find your balance. So what do you do? For starters, as with most areas of life, you focus on the present. Now, I know I just said to plan out your next steps, but we’re discussing a different beast when it comes to deadlines. You can still plan out as much as physically possible, but make sure you are using your time wisely.

Getting caught up in the future can and will take us away from the here and now. At this very moment, right now, what can you do to be productive and make progress on your project? Ask yourself what needs to be done right this very second. If it’s getting feedback from past clients, make the calls. If it’s coming up with a grassroots marketing plan, start it. If it’s bouncing ideas off other colleagues, schedule the meeting. Whatever it may be, just begin. Often, the most formidable challenge is merely starting the process. The more you go back and forth between what should take priority, the more time you waste, and the less you have to fulfill your obligations and impress your supervisor.

Know yourself and those around you

What are your limits? Do you have any? Of course, you do; everyone does. Many people come close to superheroes, shout out to all of the Mom’s and Dad’s out there, but nobody’s perfect. We all have areas of expertise, and we can improve upon others. One of the absolute best ways to work under pressure is knowing yourself. Why? Well, the better you understand what you’re good at, the quicker you can ask for assistance in the areas you’re not. Now, you shouldn’t be satisfied with this, as you can never fully quench your thirst for growth. Instead, you can excel and mentor in your area while continually seeking improvement and guidance in others.


As productive as it is to know yourself, it’s just as vital to know the people around you. Communication is a leadership characteristic for a reason. Build rapport with your teammates, and don’t be afraid to insert yourself into the conversation. Having complete contact with those around you will ease any mounting pressure you may feel to complete a project. Furthermore, going over the details of a project with your teammates may prompt them to aid you in some way, lessening the burden on you. Working under a great deal of pressure can cause stress and even burnout. By prioritizing, focusing on the present, being in touch with yourself, and communicating with others, you’ll erode some of the pressure away. Just remember, a little pressure is a good pressure.

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