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Admin Pro Forum

Do you actually get better when it’s panic time?

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Question: "I've found during my admin career that when I'm up against a deadline—especially an unexpected one—I become super-efficient and focused, and even my ideas on how to problem-solve are sharper and better. And if something creative is called for, I'm suddenly filled with good notions when the clock is running out. Generally, it takes a little bit of panic to bring out the very best worker in me! Does anyone else have this problem, and has anyone found a way to generate a sense of urgency when there really is none?" - Karen, Legal Assistant

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Trisha July 27, 2018 at 9:07 am

This is excellent advice, Valerie.


Ali July 26, 2018 at 9:06 pm

For me at a minute to midnight is when everything becomes crystal clear and I find the words to write and the ideas start to flow.
Valerie – I am using your goal, its definitely going to be my goal the next 12 months to bring efficiencies.


Valerie Burton July 30, 2018 at 10:54 am

Ali, That’s wonderful to hear! I find my best time for creating…like writing minutes, is early morning. I can sip my coffee, write, and stay focused. I try to save the end of the day for more mundane things, scheduling, filing, etc.


Trisha July 26, 2018 at 5:07 pm

I am the same way and I love it… always have! I thrive under pressure and find that everything goes much smoother when I’m in the zone as opposed to when things are slow. When the routine is more laid back, I tend to overlook minor details since my mind isn’t as sharply focused.


Mark July 19, 2018 at 11:27 am

That’s me! I thrive when a deadline is approaching. The sense of urgency forces me to pick up my speed and get my mind going. Even back in high school and college, I wouldn’t start my term papers until the weekend before they were due, and I’d get an A or B each time because that deadline put my mind at peak performance.


Joyce Genovesi July 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm

I am in total agreement. It’s like an adrenaline rush when the deadlines are nearing and then a crash after the event is over. It’s sometimes hard to stay motivated and focused during the down times but that’s when I try to catch up on the less urgent items. Susan and Valerie expressed my views exactly. Always good to know that others have the same experiences.


Susan Douglas July 12, 2018 at 5:02 pm

I have the exact same experience! I have often wondered about it and think it is somewhat similar to what happens in the “flight or fight” response, in which our senses are on full alert, adrenaline rushes in, etc. Nothing like sudden need to help you focus like a laser. While I wouldn’t want to be in a steady state of panic, I do like how productive I am at those times. The opposite is true when a huge meeting or deadline has passed – things slow w-a-y down and it can be difficult to ramp up again with no deadlines or pressure. I find that creating my own deadlines for work that often gets pushed to the back burner (filing, for example, or organizing file paths on my desktop) ensures that it will get done, especially if I plan to accomplish those mundane but necessary tasks when I know it will be quiet at the office. The hardest part is actually starting those not-very-exciting projects, and once I get going on them, they often create their own momentum.


Valerie Burton July 12, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Absolutely! I am SO efficient/creative/productive/motivated when it’s crazy busy. I’ve been working hard to continue that efficiency without deadlines this year as part of my personal goals. Just today, I finished filing 2 years of backlogged paper files. It feels amazing to be able to have the time to do this and it’s all because I’ve become more efficient regardless of deadlines. For me, it was just setting the goal and working on it; much easier than I ever anticipated. Give it a try…..set that goal!


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