Working Under PressureOct 24, 2023
We often see on job applications that an individual “works well under pressure,” but that can mean one of two things. It can mean that when the individual experiences a heavy workload, upcoming deadlines, and large amounts of stress that they stay calm and collected. They do not fold under pressure, and they get the job done efficiently. On the other hand, it can also mean that they procrastinate, but they are still able to complete the work, even if it’s at the last minute. They might not do it well, but they get it done.
The distinction between these two interpretations can be detrimental. We want to hire people that do not back down from a challenge, and we also want to ensure that our employees are not creating unnecessary challenges for themselves by putting things off until the last minute.
The justification for putting things off inside the mind of a procrastinator is that they believe they work well under pressure. Be careful though because sometimes that is a fancy way of saying, “I lack the discipline to do what matters today.” They were able to make it by the deadline in the past, so they will start pushing their luck and putting things off closer and closer to the next deadline. The more this happens, the more they make excuses for themselves. After a while, they stop focusing on the quality of the work, and they just focus on getting it done.
I think we have all been guilty of procrastinating at some point or another in our lives, but if we let the trend continue, we will lose sight of what really matters. Prioritizing our schedules and working on things gradually will help reduce the inclination to procrastinate. Setting personal deadlines ahead of the actual deadline is another method to keep people on track. Leaders can encourage us to avoid procrastination, but the choice is ours to make. We must first believe that we are capable of doing things right away. We need to let go of any limiting beliefs and start living into our potential. We can accomplish so much more than we realize, as long as we set our minds to it.
If you have ever claimed to “work well under pressure,” I want you to really evaluate what that means for you. Are you the type of person who pushes things off until your only choice is to complete the work under pressure, or are you the type of person who adapts to any challenge? Once you figure out who you are now, think about who you want to be. Are those two images the same, or do you have some work to do? Transformation begins within, and you can choose to start that process today.
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