The biggest challenge faced by anyone who wants to make partner is dealing with immense pressure. Particularly when that pressure is on-going. Whether it is time pressure to get a piece of client work done, time to build your own practice or ‘difficult’ clients, being successful in practice is often about excelling when under pressure. ‘How to deal with pressure at work’ is the challenge that any successful professional needs to solve. Here are 6 tips to help you excel, even under the toughest pressure at work.

How to deal with pressure at work

Tip 1: Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise

Not everything is always urgent (although some partners and clients may like to think so). Every time you are given a new task or objective, actively decide how urgent it is and what priority it needs to be given. You may find that the ‘eat that frog‘ methodology will help you do the tasks which you are procrastinating on.

Tip 2: Avoid over-committing yourself

Of course you may not be given a choice in this one! However, aim to keep up a dialogue with your clients and the people in your firm who may give you work on the capacity you have. If you need to take some priority calls, such as cancelling some of your ‘non-essential’ meetings, then do so. Interestingly, we often over estimate how much we can do in the short term, and under estimate how much we can do over the long term. If you really can’t find something to delegate or delay, then take a hard look at the deadlines you have personally set yourself. What can be moved?

Tip 3: Look after your health

Long term high levels of stress will adversely impact your health. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean that you suddenly need to become a teetotal, non-smoking, yoga loving fitness fanatic. It means being aware of your own physical and emotional health and taking steps to build your resilience for the long term as well as knowing when to put yourself first in the short term. Sometimes it can be the small things which can really make a difference to your mood and ability to feel in control. This could be a 20 minute walk during the day or cutting down your alcohol intake during the week.

Are you just tired or are you burning out? Find out by clicking here to take our burnout self-assessment. (email required)

Tip 4: Stop trying to be a perfectionist

Given the high demands of clients and the potential rewards available for doing a great job for a client is it any wonder that we try to do a perfect job for a client? Of course we all know rationally that perfect doesn’t exist. The more we try to achieve perfection the more pressure and stress we put ourselves under. Yes, clients do want to feel as if we have delivered them a great service. However, most of them are not looking for absolute perfection – particularly if it delays the project assignment. Therefore, learn to recognise when you have got to ‘good enough’ and ask yourself whether you really need more time or effort to do more?

Tip 5: Take back control

When you don’t feel as if you are in control of your workload or career it is exceptionally stressful. At times, particularly in the early days of our career, it can feel as if we have no control over what we do and who we do it for. Actually, we always do have a choice in the matter. The ‘choice’ we have may not be palatable. But, at least we always have a choice. When you are at work aim to take active choices so you can feel as you have some element of control over what you are doing and when you have to do it by.

Tip 6: Take time out

This may be by having 30 mins out at lunch time, or by making sure you actually take all your annual leave. In fact, just by taking a short time out in a stressful situation, it can help you reduce your stress levels and find the right course of action to take.

Are you just tired or are you burning out? Find out by clicking here to take our burnout self-assessment. (email required)

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