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.