Every career professional today potentially faces unrelenting time pressure. This is true across the board, for newbies as well as for veterans in the workplace, for CEOs and for cashiers. How can this be so?
Independent of how long you have been in the working world, and what position you hold, the odds are overwhelming that you experience time pressure on a recurring basis. Everyone is deluged by a variety of communications as well as information popping up all day long that competes for your attention.
I work with several college students, each of whom also experiences a level of time pressure that I did not observe among students when I was in college. To live and work or live and study in contemporary society today all but ensures that you'll be subjected to a constant stream of tasks and responsibilities as well as issues and information to which you feel you must respond.
Geography Matters Less
Is time pressure independent of where you live? Do accountants in New York and Idaho feel the same?
In New York, obviously, you are making your way through the masses of people everywhere you go. In Idaho there are more open spaces, but both New Yorkers and Idahoans face fairly similar pressures. Our communication devices such as the Web, radio, and mobile devices, and other ways of communicating with others, staying on top of the news, and receiving message via email, text message, or instant message can affect anyone, anywhere who happens to be wired.
Someone in Idaho might have five different email accounts, 60 various mobile apps, three blogs, a website, or multiple websites, and so on. Where you live is not a solid predictor of how much time pressure you experience. The time pressure you experience is more often based on individual attributes and initiatives.
New Yorkers who move to Idaho might be appreciative of the open spaces, feel a sense of tranquility, and experience peace of mind more often. Yet such individuals have likely brought with them all the communication and information gathering capabilities that they had while residing in New York.
Likewise someone from Idaho could move to New York, feel overwhelmed by the masses and all that competes for their attention out on the city streets. Yet, depending on how they approach their work, day, and life could experience a distinct sense of tranquility compared with the typical New Yorker.
So, what can one do? Regardless of your location, station in life, job description, income level, and personal and family responsibilities, the following tips will help:
What You Can Do Right Now
- Ask yourself, "How do I want to feel right now?"
- Choose how you want to feel.
- Live in this moment—the only point at which action can occur.
- Pare down the paper you've been collecting this week.
What You Can Do Tomorrow or the Next Day
- Clear your desk of everything but the one task at hand.
- Arrange all files and tasks surrounding your desk into file folders, in order of importance. Begin working on the most important task and follow it to completion, or as far as you can personally take it.
- Thereafter, tackle the next most important task and work on it to completion. Strive to work on one task at a time.
- Establish realistic guidelines for use of mobile devices.
- Congratulate yourself on what you do accomplish.
- Choose to be where you're heading after work: be it home, the health club, and so forth.
- Get a good night's sleep.
What You Can Do Within a Week
- Surround yourself with items that support the way you work, including a water pitcher, a fan or heater, extra paper, pens, file folders, batteries, flash drives.
- Look for files and data you can readily toss (or recycle).
- Stock your car with what you need for efficient travel.
- Begin to remove your name from mailing lists.
- Inform the people around you when you need quiet time.
- Set up multiple stations, and free yourself from carrying high-use commodity-type items.
- Begin anticipating challenges and tasks before they arise.
By putting such practices into place, you'll be amazed at how quickly and easily you feel in control!
About the author:
Jeff Davidson, The Work-Life Balance Expert®, is founder of the Breathing Space Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina. He wrote Breathing Space and Simpler Living, recorded 92 audio programs, and created 24 iPhone apps. Visit: www.breathingspace.com.