Have you ever noticed that it’s difficult to work quickly without having some sort of fall out?
Sideways remarks, annoyed gazes or full out arguments seem to happen most often when the stakes are high. Whether it be personal or professional, tight deadlines and high pressure seem to be a breeding ground for resentment, frustration, miscommunications, ultimately resulting in unnecessary mistakes. We have all lived through the stress filled days and hurried nights to know the toll it takes on a company. But we are all aware that tight deadlines are inevitable and will happen every now and again. Rather than being surprised by the havoc they leave in their wake, why not plan for the storm before it gets here?
The following are some ideas on how to care for your clients, employees and self when time is of the essence.
Communication is Key
Being clear about expectations, changes, and deadlines is key to making a high stress situation go smoothly. If you find yourself assuming, you are wandering into dangerous territory. Make sure to take the time to email, call or get up from your desk to ensure your clients, co-workers, employees, and vendors are all in the loop. If you see time crunch coming on the horizon, do yourself a favor and let those around you know of the impending storm. This foreknowledge can be a life saver for vendors and helps employees plan their time appropriately.
Mistakes occur when you’re going fast. It’s a reality that you should plan for, not be surprised by. This is why it is important to build in back up. We’ve given this advice before, but it is worth repeating. Before work goes to the client be sure to have someone else check your work. This provides the opportunity to ask questions, catch mistakes and sometimes get some positive reinforcement. Create a habit of reviewing emails and communications to make sure you’ve taken all of your client’s thoughts into account. To make sure this step is a part of your process, you need to plan for it. So make sure review is in your plan of attack.
Mind Your P’s and Q’s
It’s easy to throw out all pleasantries when the pressure is on, but when you’re asking co-workers, employees or partners to do more than is required and to go the extra mile, please and thanks yous are a must. This is especially true if you foresee ever having to ask them any favors in the future. Showing that you respect them and appreciate their decision to work late, lower their prices or meet tight deadlines can go a long way towards sustaining a good relationship.
Do Yourself a Favor, Eat
Sometimes deadlines require burning the midnight oil. Make sure you have the fuel to sustain that flame. No food mixed with no sleep is a bad combo, especially if you have to work with a team. Working late rarely makes people happy, so food is a good way to counter the fatigue. Plan ahead, bring food or figure out early where you are going to get food, and in a down moment get up and get it. Your night will go better and you won’t have to clean up the reminiscence of a bad attitude the next day.
Fall tends to be a busy time of year for many people. How will you plan ahead to ensure that your fast work days won’t leave you furious?