Keep calm and carry on is what we’re all told to do, but it’s easier said than done. To give yourself the best possible chance of performing at your optimum take a look at the top 5 ways you can keep calm and reduce your stress. That way when the deadlines are looming you’ll have nothing to fear and plenty more energy to expend on the task at hand.
Never Worry About What You’re Not Doing
Something that we’ve all experienced is the feeling of being paralyzed by the sheer amount of stuff we have yet to do. Obsessing about everything on your to-do list may make it look like you’re abreast of all the fine details, but it will use up valuable time and energy that you simply cannot afford to waste.
If you want to be able to stay calm as your deadlines move ever closer, then you need to focus all of your efforts on living in the here and now. No matter what you have to get done you should only focus on one thing at a time. Simply by admitting that you can only do one thing at a time you will be able to focus your mind on the task at hand. Not only does this allow you to give everything your best. It also allows you to move through each step of the process without wasting time by going back and forth or jumping from one task to the next.
Keep Calm and Listen to What Your Body Tells You
The world of work is awash with productivity apps that try and schedule every second of your day for you, but there’s something more fundamental you need to pay attention to first.
Your body is what allows your mind to function at its optimum. If you don’t fuel yourself correctly and get sufficient rest then you’ll feel the downsides sooner rather than later. Everyone will pull the odd all-nighter at least once in their lifetime, and the day after is often not all that bad if you can nap. What you need to avoid though is letting these types of extended efforts become the norm or the done thing.
If you repeatedly skip meals, eat poorly, and stay up late working on your latest project then you’ll quickly see a steep drop off in your productivity. Keep calm and take the time to rest and eat. It seems like it will slow things down because it removes you from the working environment, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rest, sleep, eat, and the work will get done a lot more efficiently when you get back to work. Learn more with our 4 ways to deal with stress at work.
Focus On What You Can Do
Not every project or deadline is as achievable as you first thought, and there’s nothing wrong with being honest and transparent about that. By all means push a little harder and work a little longer than you otherwise would. But don’t drive yourself to the breaking point if doing so will still leave you a long way short of your deadline.
If you want to keep calm and stay grounded then focus on what you can do, and put what you can’t to one side. By taking a proactive approach to reporting to your superiors and delegating to your staff you’ll be able to keep everyone in the loop. That way you don’t have to run around at the last minute whilst everyone else acts surprised that a few little bits and pieces need some extra attention.
By concentrating on what you can do you’ll be able to give those parts of the project your full attention so that you can make some much-needed progress. Without this approach you’ll find that you won’t get anything done at all as the stress grows.
Be Realistic About What You Can Achieve
Realism is the name of the game when it comes to coping with stress and pressure. If you want to get things done, then you need to set yourself realistic goals for their completion times. Drawing up a to-do list or schedule is a great way to get started, but keep it realistic.
Setting time blocks allows you to focus your efforts when you need to. But remember that by setting unrealistically close completion dates you’re just adding to the pressure that will be mounting as the deadlines loom. A smart approach is to estimate how long you think you can do it if everything goes fine, and then add on half as much time again. That way you’ll have some built in contingency that will allow you to change things up as and when you need to.
The other thing that you may want to consider is whether or not you can do parts of certain overlapping tasks in parallel. Setting up your day so that you can work a little longer if it moves two things along in tandem can be a great way to make considerable progress. You may also find it quite refreshing to be able to focus on something a little different at the end of those kinds of days.
Break Things Up Into Manageable Tasks
The final stress-busting tip is all about moving things along in small manageable steps. If you constantly flip between the deadline and the final deliverable, then your stress is certain to grow and grow with every passing day. What you need to do is break things up, take it step by step, and celebrate the small wins along the way.
The great thing about this approach is that you can start to think about the big picture before you even get started. Figuring out what the intermediate steps are is a great way to flag up any potential bottlenecks well in advance so that you can plan accordingly. It will also allow you to feel in control because you’ll be doing something proactive to take command of the situation from the off. It will also allow you to have a clear plan of action that you can refer back to on those days when you feel stressed and in need of a little reassurance.
Small tasks are also quicker and easier to complete than huge tasks, this much we do know for certain. This means that you’ll be able to make more apparent progress by ticking off those small wins as you move closer to completion. You’ll keep calm and your confidence and motivation will increase as you see yourself making progress. The great thing about this is that your stress levels will drop without you even realizing it.
When you want to keep calm and take control, it’s all about keeping on top of your stress levels. You can do this by listening to your body and getting the rest and nutrition that you need to stay on top of things. Once you do that you’ll find it much easier to focus on what you can do, break things up into small manageable tasks, and stay living in the here and now.
Kristin Savage has graduated from Columbia University where she was majoring in Germanic Languages. Besides English as her mother tongue she also speaks German and Dutch fluently. Currently Kristin is studying Spanish and planning to obtain her PhD in Applied Linguistics since she is interested in how to use her to some extent practical knowledge of language processes in everyday life. She has been a writer for a few years and is known for her thorough approach to all the tasks and aspiration to fulfill assignments with flying colors.