For starters, it is total­ly insane that March is here. I am always star­tled by how quick­ly the hol­i­days and the New Year turn into old mem­o­ries. How­ev­er, what sticks around in these ear­ly months is a cer­tain breed of moti­va­tion that only comes with the turn­ing of the cal­en­dar. Our list of New Years res­o­lu­tions  gives us hope that this time, we can final­ly do what­ev­er it is that we have put off last year. This jolt of ener­gy is not only felt in our per­son­al lives, but in our work­place as well.  At the office, we find our­selves feel­ing more ambi­tious, set­ting lofty goals, and putting into motion new projects. There is a nice feel­ing about being pro­duc­tive and work­ing hard, no doubt, but we are humans, and some­times, we can over-do it.

Just when every­thing feels like it’s final­ly start­ing to get under con­trol, there is a last minute emer­gency that makes you for­get about all the progress you made. The fact of the mat­ter is that, no mat­ter how sol­id your process, deci­sion mak­ing, and/or sales skills are, there will always be some­thing last minute that can push you to the edge.

Since the like­li­hood of more than one work fire hap­pen­ing to you this year is huge, here are some tips on how to sur­vive and sal­vage your mind­set.

Breathe. This may sound total­ly cliche but it is a tried-and-true method of dif­fus­ing the ini­tial shock.  When that new dead­line comes across your desk that throws a wrench in the plans, or there’s a client back­fire that is all-con­sum­ing, give your­self one breath. It will imme­di­ate­ly stop the steam from com­ing out of your ears and gives you a few, very need­ed, sec­onds to allow your brain to process what is hap­pen­ing.  

Focus on mis­sion-crit­i­cal items. Then pri­or­i­tize. Start sort­ing out imme­di­ate­ly what needs to be done to get to the oth­er side of the cri­sis. Strict­ly focus on what is total­ly imper­a­tive and allow your­self to let go of any­thing that will slow you down. Stay­ing orga­nized through the chaos will help you keep calm and ensure that you don’t have to be in the woods any longer than nec­es­sary. Along with the razor sharp focus, take the extra step and pri­or­i­tize. This is espe­cial­ly help­ful when work­ing with a team. When every­one knows exact­ly what their job is, the stress meter auto­mat­i­cal­ly ticks down a few notch­es.

Com­mu­ni­cate the sit­u­a­tion to those affect­ed. This echoes the above point of shar­ing the most impor­tant morsels with your imme­di­ate team, but also spans out to clients and ven­dors that you work with on a dai­ly basis. Chances are you are jug­gling a mil­lion oth­er things right now this hic­cup is affect­ing more than your mind­set. If you know that this sit­u­a­tion is going to monop­o­lize your time for next day or so, com­mu­ni­cate that to the oth­er peo­ple and/or enti­ties that you would usu­al­ly divvy out your atten­tion to. Being trans­par­ent will help you man­age expec­ta­tions and not ruf­fle and feath­ers while you get through the issue at hand.

Get ready for the next one. That’s right, the next one. No one is safe from being blind-sided and the best way com­bat it is to expect it. Half the bat­tle is know­ing that this too shall pass and if you can turn each hec­tic moment into a learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty, the “last minute rush” actu­al­ly did you a favor.  

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