Stress and Motivation: How Pressure Affects Productivity and Performance
We’ve all been there. The deadline is looming and we’ve barely begun to work. We all recognize that feeling in the pit of our stomach as we settle down to work but worry if we’ll be able to finish the task ahead of us. But does pressure have to lead to stress? And what does stress actually do to our motivation and focus?
As a business leader, you want to be clear and focused so you can lead well, which will ensure that your goals are clear and action is taken. Under pressure, our brains don’t work as well. Pressure leads to stress, with a negative effect.
We know for a fact that stress, from psychological pressure affects, our bodies. It leads to higher blood pressure, anxiety, and a host of other symptoms. It also makes it really, really hard to concentrate on the task at hand. If you’re feeling pressure at work, and it’s leading to stress, then you probably aren’t at your most effective. You might be missing deadlines or making mistakes, or even worried yourself sick and having to take a sick day. All of these things can be caused by stress from psychological pressure.
If not managed, burnout can occur which leads to more problems. According to a new survey by Monster.com, 95% of those surveyed said they were looking to quit their job – burnout was the leading cause. If not dealt with at the time, then the outcomes, described above, will occur. The body can become ‘sick’ from too much pressure and stress.
But with good coping skills, pressure doesn’t always have to lead to stress. It can positively affect motivation, too. When you’re feeling stressed, you should try to practice positive thinking, self-distraction, or one of many other techniques that can beat stress and help you focus so you perform better.
Motivation under pressure is using pressured moments to your advantage versus it being a downfall. Rather than focusing on the reasons for pressure, use that time to focus on solutions to solve them. Action overrides any fear so you are more motivated to achieve your goals. There are many positive suggestions and helpful hints for getting better at handling stress caused by pressure. The most important thing you can do is learn to cope, because with positive coping mechanisms we see stress melt away, and in its place there are a host of positive benefits of working under pressure.
Performing Under Pressure
When you’ve mastered your stress levels and learn to perform under pressure you might notice a few things. You’ll keep a cooler head in difficult situations, thinking clearly when others around you are flailing wildly at the thought of some terrible outcome. You’ll notice that your leadership skills improve, and that people turn to you in a crisis. You might also see that you perform better under pressure, because of the positive coping mechanisms that you’ve mastered.
People who perform under pressure are in huge demand in every industry. Whether you’re at the office or behind a counter, performance under stress will lead to promotions and positive feedback. Every employer on Earth wants to find someone who can keep a cool head under pressure, and with a little bit of practice and some positive habits that someone could easily be you.
Essentially, pressure leads to stress which, if managed properly, leads to higher motivation with all-around positive outcomes. Develop a ‘tool box’ of coping skills and keep them handy so when you are feeling pressured, you can take advantage of them quickly. It is easier to do something about them at the time, rather than suffering in the long-run. One add-on – do something fun that makes you laugh, such as reading funny comics or stories; exercise and movement also lower pressure and elevate mood.
The key is to pay attention to your physical symptoms so you can use learned coping skills to feel calmer so you will be more productive throughout your day. Celebrate your wins, also, to keep motivation going high.
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