This kind of pressure can be overwhelming, but it's important to find ways to work through it and come out on top. To help you, we asked a group of business leaders how they've learned to cope and succeed under pressure. Follow their guidance to meet your goals, no matter what curveballs your career is throwing at you.
Focus on one task at a time.
Trying to tackle a huge project on a tight deadline is often a source of stress. Instead of looking at the total stress, Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, recommends focusing on each specific task you must complete before moving onto the next.
"Forget about the overall result until you're almost finished," says Schrage. "And since you've probably had these moments before, think back to one or two where you particularly shined and use that for inspiration."
Prioritize what's important, not what's urgent.
We've all had to choose between "urgent" and "important" tasks on our to-do lists. According to Solomon Thimothy, co-founder and president of OneIMS, the "urgent" tasks shouldn't consume you. It's best to optimize your workflow and prioritize the important things on your list.
"If you don't want to spend the rest of your career fighting fires, take time to prevent them from happening in the future," Thimothy adds.
Treat it like a game.
Working under extreme pressure can sometimes feel like life or death. Before he reaches this point, Zach Binder, co-founder and president of Bell + Ivy, stops to adjust his perspective and treats the pressure like a game.
"I challenge myself to get through the time having as much fun as possible while doing it," Binder explains. "If you can find the fun in the situation, all pressure will be gone."
Take care of your health first.
The secret to succeeding under pressure and scrutiny? Taking care of your physical and mental health.
"The most organized person will crumble without sufficient sleep," says Rachel Beider, CEO of PRESS Modern Massage. "Make sure you're prioritizing a healthy lifestyle and habits to establish a strong foundation for success."
Learn to ignore the negativity.
A thick skin is a must when you're facing professional scrutiny, says Angela Ruth, customer experience rep for Calendar.
"You need to learn to ignore certain things like negative behaviors or comments because letting them impact you will only stop you from succeeding," Ruth says. "Do not emotionally react to what others are trying to stir up. Keep focused on what you need to get done. You'll succeed and shut them up in the process."
Ask for help.
When you're feeling pressured to deliver results on a timeline, it helps to remember that there are others around you who can help, including your team. Piyush Jain, CEO of SIMpalm, says he is often able to get help from his team when needed, because he makes a point to help them too.
"Planning your activities is important, but if you get support from team members, you can deliver more and do it efficiently," says Jain.
Remember your past successes.
One thing that works for Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, when she's stressed is reflecting on past successes.
"When you feel stressed or under pressure, remember all that you've already overcome," Wells says. "If you got through that, then surely you can get through and achieve anything."
Keep your eye on the prize.
Tunnel vision is sometimes considered a bad thing, but it's absolutely essential when you're trying to get work done under pressure.
"Stress and anxiety are often a result of thinking about the unknown in the future," says Matthew Podolsky, managing attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. "Remove this by moving one moment and one breath at a time. Keep your eyes on the prize regardless of how you feel or the pressure that surrounds you. Any attention paid to stress will be attention taken from the goal."