We’ve all had those moments… you know, those moments when you are happily sitting at your desk knocking things out and then your phone rings and you hear:
“Heyyyy, so we’ve got a new project that we’ve got to get done by tomorrow” YIKES!
Instantly it’s all hands on deck and your to-do list is totally thrown out the window.
BUT – there are still things on that list that you need to get done! You can feel your heart rate start to heighten and your palms get sweaty – now what?!
How do you deal with the fires?
Step 1: Calm it down!
You know you’re not at your best when you are stressed. Nothing productive gets done well when you are in that space.
Do what you need to do to get back to a place of thinking in your logical brain verses thinking from your stress. How do you actually DO that?
- Take a couple of long (6-8 second) deep breaths
- Get out of the office for a minute, go walk across the street to grab a cup of tea or coffee
- Plan for a quick run during your lunch break
Step 2: Take a step back
Make a list of all of the items that HAVE to get done today or tomorrow. Look to see if there is anything that you can push out another day or two, or delegate to someone on your team (need tips on how to delegate effectively? Check out here, here, and here).
Communicate with those around you of what came up: tell you boss that you’ve been handed this last-minute task and you’re prioritizing it, let your team know that you’ve been handed a huge project and that you’ll probably be a little more on edge today. Being transparent with those around you will serve you all well!
Step 3: Set Realistic Expectations
You know you can’t do everything, so start thinking through your to-do’s in buckets.
Bucket 1 – Quick knock-outs: Is there an item or two that you can complete in the next 20 or 30 minutes? Do those quickly – spend no longer than 30 minutes on each. Feeling better as things start to be checked off your to-do list? Great. Move to bucket 2.
Bucket 2 – the biggies: Buckle down and knock out the most important/time sensitive item. Is someone waiting for a piece from you to be able to work on theirs? Tackle that now.
Bucket 3 – Finish it up! Circle back to those important items that take a little longer.
Try these out and let us know your best practices in dealing with fires!