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Live In A Pressure Cooker? Then Turn Down The Heat.

Live In A Pressure Cooker? Then Turn Down The Heat.
We all have our pressure moments but many people experience feelings of being under pressure every day. These people feel they live in a pressure cooker.
Take The Pressure Cooker Inventory and you’ll gain some perspective on why you always feel pressure.  Then read the recommendations on how to feel pressure-less.  Give yourself 1 (low) to 9 (high) points based on how you rate your position on the following items:
  • Frequently feel you are on alert
  • Feel you have to please others
  • Always feeling you have to produce results
  • Question your capabilities
  • Fear negative consequences if not successful
  • Feel others are counting on you; Worry about rejection from others
  • Competitive with others; Keep your feelings to yourself
  • Feel you can’t put down the load you are carrying

Scoring Parameters

80 -100—People in this range typically feel there is no relief from pressure, that they always “have to be on”, and can’t take a break. They feel burdened daily, and are always thinking about what they have to do the next day and yet are tired of “carrying the load.” They are concerned about their future at night and wake up, wondering if they will achieve their goals. Much of their working day is devoted to wondering if their boss and clients thinks well of them. They rarely feel they have job security.

Underlying these feelings are inherent pressure inducers that we all experience, but for those in this category, they are intensified because of their psychological make-up. These include their competitive nature –they always feel they have to be # 1 and “beat the other guy” or else be “weeded out” so their is always relentless pressure on them to perform better and better; their need to be accepted by others and fear of being rejected by others so they are always under the pressure of feeling they have to please others, and feeling responsible for others that often causes them to feel burdened..

Look at your responses for each item and reflect upon your reasons for your high rating.  You’ll get some revelations into how the aforementioned factors influence your feelings of pressure.

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40-70- –People in this range are like the above but to a lesser degree. They feel they always have something to do, they rarely take extended times to relax, worry about the future, and often feel they are behind the eight ball.

10-30: you feel in control of your life. They feel pressure in particular moments when they have to deliver the goods but do not experience daily burdensome feelings of pressure.

If you were to come to my office, I would give you five actions you can take to reduce the feelings of pressure you experience that you could do in just a few minutes. Here are a few of the things
I would prescribe to you:

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Focus on how good you are at something, not your ranking.  Competition is a natural pressure inducer because it encourages us to try to be better than others. The tradeoff is a constant feeling that “you have to be the best,” which can create unrealistic expectations and a sense that you don’t measure up. Focusing on your own excellence, rather than beating out the other person, puts you in control of your destiny. It promotes feelings of confidence, rather than pressure anxiety

Let your values and personal expectations guide you.  Literature, films and television shows are rich in story lines in which a characters feels enormous pressure to live up to the expectations of others and we relate to them because it’s such a common pressure.

Whether because of a fear of rejection or the need to be accepted, attempting to perform to meet the expectations of others helps to exacerbate pressure. It can force you to navigate a different course than you would otherwise.

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Staying true to your values and honoring the goals and expectations you set for yourself are more likely to reduce the feelings of pressure you experience and free yourself from feeling you always have to be pleasing others.

Focus on meaningful purpose, not incentives.  Those who pursue their passions, develop their interest and achieving a sense of purpose and meaning from their work are much more likely to experience positive emotions at work than those who focus on attaining incentives 
such as salaries bonuses and promotions. Paradoxically, those who focus excessively on attaining incentives or losing them are more likely to feel stress, anxiety, and fear— emotions that intensify feelings of pressure that, ironically, inhibit their capabilities to attain the very incentives they desire don’t, as well as greater productivity.

If you are starting out in the work world, follow your genuine interests— any pressure you experience will be buffered by the feelings of curiosity and fulfillment
that come from following your passions. If you’ve been in the work world for a while, try to rekindle your purpose.

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Appreciate what you “have,” not what you “have not.” Experiencing joy is a great minimizer of pressure. Appreciate the people, events, opportunities, and achievements that enrich your life, but which so many of us often take for granted. Focusing on what you
 don’t have will likely increase your feelings of pressure. To feel pressure-less, take a few minutes each day to appreciate what you have. You’ll actually be stimulating the reward center in your brain which creates pleasurable feelings so you’ll will feel calmer, happier, and more relaxed.

We all live in the Age of Pressure but you don’t have to let it cook you —you can depressurize!

More by this author

The DNA of Success: 4 Attributes We All Need Live In A Pressure Cooker? Then Turn Down The Heat. The Art Of Taking Criticism: Get Curious? Helping Your Kids Handle Pressure Under Pressure? 6 Ways to Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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