Handling the pressure of not doing enough

Do you ever feel overwhelming pressure that no matter how hard you are trying you can’t seem to be doing enough? Sometimes this pressure is brought upon us by others who keep telling us that we are not doing enough even if we are putting our best.

Pressure is an everyday part of our adult lives. It can come from within us or forces which are external. Many of us have a constant never-ending feeling that we’re always behind on what we need to get done. At work, you constantly have pressure from your managers that you are not doing enough. If you work for yourself, it may even be worse. You have the constant pressure to improve and grow. On the other side, social media doesn’t make it any easier for us. Newsfeeds keep making us feel like we are lagging behind.

In interviews, many employers like to ask job seekers about their pressure-handling skills and sometimes it is job seekers themselves who write in their CVs that they can work well under pressure. Pressure can be stimulating if on manageable levels. It can force people to think outside the box. Great thinkers often arise under moments of pressure.

However if the pressure keeps increasing it reaches levels where it ceases to provoke thinking but rather becomes detrimental, causes stress and anxiety and makes people feel overwhelmed, and leads to the deterioration of work. Others even tend to become aggressive when they are under pressure.

How then do we deal with this pressure? We need to practice healthy ways of managing and handling it.

8 ways of handling pressure

1. Pause and reflect

When we are rushing through the day we never get time to really check what we are doing and we are always feeling anxious. Pause for a bit and reflect on your actions. Look within yourself and be mindful of your actions to clearly evaluate your actions and where the pressure is coming from. Is it because you are not doing enough or you are just anxious? What is causing the pressure? Many times you will realize it’s just an illusion.

2. Go back to your task list

This is why I always encourage people to never start a day without writing down the things they need to accomplish within that day. It’s easy to wander off from your task as the pressure of the day builds upon you. When you feel anxious and feel like you are not doing enough, go back to your task list and check whether what you are doing is what you are supposed to be doing right now.

3. Be religious to your task list

If you are not committed to your task list then you have just wasted time writing it. The reason why we create a task list is so that we can follow it. Task lists help to remain focused when the pressure of the day settles in. Even if you may feel you are not doing enough, if you are ticking off things from your list, trust me you are just anxious. Of course, on some days you may not be able to tick off everything on your list because of unexpected events but ticking that 1 or 2 items off is a great positive step.

4. Stop comparing yourself to other people

This habit will only lead you to despair. Don’t let social media put you under pressure, nothing is ever as it seems. Most of the time people are just living ordinary lives like you.

5. Be conscious of the difference between excellence and perfection

Excellence is achievable but perfection is not. Excellence means growth, perfection is demoralizing and often leads to frustration because it can’t be attained.  Do your best but do not seek to be perfect.

6. Take time off or engage in your hobby before getting back to your task list

Sometimes our working juices are just off no matter how hard we try to push ourselves. Take time off and do something you enjoy doing.

7. Take time to appreciate yourself

As human beings, we have an inbuilt desire for more. We need more of every good thing, from success to happiness. This is great as it drives us, but if you’re living in a state of lack because you’re always looking for more or better, it leads to unhappiness and anxiety. Happiness comes from appreciating what we have right now. Focus on what you have achieved, on the progress you’ve made, and take time to appreciate yourself for that. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small.

8.    Accept the things that are beyond you

It’s not easy, but accepting that there are some things happening to you that you probably can’t do anything about will help you focus your time and energy more productively. I constantly remind myself that I can only do so much.

I would love to hear from you about how you handle the pressure so please, leave a comment for me below, and if you found this useful, kindly subscribe to the site and share it with others. 

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