How do you handle stress? Do you hibernate? Or accelerate? Mr. DS already shared with us how he handles pressure (#Mr.Procrastinator). I encourage most people to practice self care when they are stressed. For me though, I handle stress a little differently.
Last week was one of those magical weeks in the year: the stress of month end deadlines and meetings, and beginning of the month deadlines and meetings. I’m constantly on my tip toes and grumbling looking at my calendar wondering who the f scheduled one more meeting for me in the day?! In addition to the desk duties that I am already supposed to be accomplishing.
So, how do you handle these kind of weeks and give the best performance ever?
Easy, by showing up and not giving a shit. Here’s the breakdown of how it works, give your best performance ever and all by not giving a shit too!
1. Know Your Shit
Obviously, if you are fairly new in your career, you may not know all the ins and outs of your job yet. Nor others. So, take a backseat and learn from others and what they have to offer. Learn who not to piss off in the office. Get everyone’s schedules down so you know when you aren’t being an interruption to them. Exhaust all your efforts researching your own questions before wasting someone’s time asking them something you can look up yourself.
However, if you know your shit, you can start acting like you do too. Perks of knowing your shit: you don’t have to waste time asking other people how or why something works. You can spend less time preparing for meetings and more time getting your regular tasks done.
2. Focus on the Priorities and Deadlines
I’ve been in my new gig for a little over 2 years now. Do I know it all? Not quite. But, what I do know I am comfortable with I can get put on the spot and speak off the cuff. Key tricks: memorize numbers. Tie everything back to a dollar. It usually leaves them focused on the numbers (good, bad, up, down?) and how it impacts them. “It’s going to cost me $1.2-1.6M to implement this??” Yup, here’s scenario A, B, and C. Let me know by Monday which you decide so we can move forward with the plans.
Also because I know this time of the month is the craziest for me, and my time is limited, I also turn the table and limit other people’s time as well. Sometimes these meetings aren’t mine that are set up. And there’s always that one person who likes to go on and on, and turn the 1 hour meeting, into 3. Before the meeting starts, I announce where I have to be in another hour, and preferably would like a potty break in between. If the agenda starts to slide or people start talking about their personal life, I ask a question about the topic and steer it back in.
Sometimes meetings lack a facilitator. If that happens, just jump in and be the person that keeps everyone focusing on priorities and deadlines! Your coworkers will be thankful to have a potty break too. Whoever’s meeting it was: well, just make sure you are comfortable enough to be doing that to the person. If it’s not a superior nor someone who is in bed with a superior of yours, meh, let it buck.
3. Adding More To Your Plate Does Not Have To Increase Your Stress Level
I also have Toastmasters meeting this time of the month. Because I know my schedule at work, I never sign up for speaking roles (or any roles!) at these meetings. But still attend to be supportive member in the club. What’s happened the last 3 times in a row: a speaker has called in sick the day before. Our club has +20 active members, but, due to the cold and flu season, everyone is wiped out. We usually try to have a minimum of 3 speeches in order to have a meeting. So, I’ve been called or emailed, “Hey, we need a speaker tomorrow. You haven’t done a 4-6 minute speech on organization or being persuasive yet. Can you whip something up?”
Why sure, let me look at my draft blog posts, or content I’ve already published…
Before I jointed Toastmasters, I would have huge anxiety preparing for a speech. Writing it out. Memorizing the beginning and the end. What do I do now? Not give a shit. Just get up there and talk about 4-6 minutes on something you know. And guess what? The last 3 times I’ve been voted best speaker. Granted, I was only going up against 2 other people, but still! A small win that creates enough momentum to get me through the rest of the week. And makes me laugh at the thought of how little of preparation went into it. Thank goodness for blog material.
4. Be Organized, Care Less, Get More Done
And then put your feet up and eat ice cream. That’s how I spent the last two hours of my workday on Friday since I was finally caught up. I had a busy week, and neglected to meal prep enough to get me through lunch on Friday. I ended up eating a half a container of coworker’s vanilla bean ice cream (they said I could have it) with my feet up at my desk, updating my resume and performance accomplishments. I’m not looking for a different job, but if you know me and have read my previous material, you know I stress the importance of updating these documents throughout year as changes occur!
5. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Of course, none of this would be possible without a network of support. Work wise, I do have a pretty good support system who encourages independence and to just, go forth and do great things. If you don’t have a workplace that encourages not giving a shit, then this may not be the avenue for you. Thank you to Mr. DS who always attends to the proper care and feeding of our child during my full-moon, crazy, double whammy end of month/beginning of month sagas. And thank you to FinSavvy Panda for encouraging me to write an entire post about not giving a shit and still being the best you can be under stress!
One would have assumed shit was the keyword in this post. It wasn’t. It’s stress. Because that word is trending higher on Pinterest. #playasgottaplay
What’s your thoughts on not giving a shit? Are you able to still highly perform under stress?