Just Get On With It!

Just Get On With It!

I’m on a deadline, with just hours to go. I’m waiting for the promised input from a couple of people. Without that, I can’t submit the proposal.

The minutes tick by, the deadline approaches… I am still waiting…

My frustration is rising, my anxiety levels increase. What if it doesn’t arrive? What if we miss the deadline because of them?

‘Ping’ incoming email. Relax… the first piece arrives. Exactly what I asked for. I input it straight away. It’s close to the line but good stuff.

One more to come. I sit, drumming my fingers, trying to use the waiting time effectively but aware that I am unable to concentrate on anything else.


But this is not what I asked for. The ‘sorry it’s a bit late’ message that goes with it does little to curb my rising anger. It is just too close to the deadline for comfort.

Recognise this situation?

I don’t think I’m alone in getting stressed by other people’s pace of work (or lack of it), so I’ve given it some thought. These seem to me to be the key challenges for me:

Frustration: I’m expecting other people to work as fast as me (or faster) and to meet or exceed deadlines that we’ve agreed. Or have we?

Is this a time management problem or a communication issue? Is it simpler to feel frustrated (blame the other person) than to tackle the core issue? They might be frustrated too and therefore lacking in the right self-motivation.

Pace: We’re all working in a world where getting things done fast is seen as effective and efficient – is that really the case? Do we want ‘quick fix’ or ‘thorough investigation?’ We want a detective to thoroughly investigate all the evidence before they reach a conclusion, don’t we? What about when there is social pressure to just prosecute?

It is important that we know what we are after at the beginning, and we ask the right type of person to deliver that. Some people are best at the thorough, steady, careful. Others cut corners. Is speed really the emphasis, or should we allow more time to do the job we REALLY want doing?

Value of work: Read back through the last three sentences. What kind of person comes into mind? Careful, thorough and steady is too often associated with slow, pedantic and uninspiring but that’s wrong – Marie Curie worked for years to extract and purify new elements and discover radioactivity and she is still an inspiration for many who follow.

We need to give ourselves and those we work with the time and space to think. Innovation, creativity and looking at the bigger picture take time.

Frustration with the pace of someone’s work can easily undermine a team, distract from important aspects of that work and all the while building up your stress levels (and your colleague’s) too.

It’s one of the triggers that I’ve included in my simple online Space to think diagnostic. Have a look, see if you recognise any of the other comments and, if so, please get in touch. I’m working on ways to avoid the overwhelm by enabling stressed people to create space and it might be worth us having a conversation. Or if you know a colleague or contact who is falling into this trap, let them know they are not the only one!

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