Have you ever had a colleague who always feels that everything should be done right away? One who, when asked about the deadline, always responds with “Yesterday?” It can be pretty hard and stressful managing someone who thinks that everything is urgent, but the reality is that these kinds of people “are usually some of the most committed and are often very productive,” cites Harvard Business Review. This does not excuse them being crazy-makers, but as an employee, you can help gently curb this often stressful ordeal and harness his or her wayward energy more productively.
Consider if the task is really urgent or if it’s important but can wait.
There are many offices which subscribe to the culture of needing everything immediately. While speed can definitely get you places first, it’s also important to understand that rushing will make you and your team more prone to mistakes, which can cost you a lot of money.
Before you jump the gun and get wrapped in your colleague’s frenzy, make sure to have everyone calm down first. If the issue really is urgent, then having a moment to collect your thoughts and think of a plan of action can make things run smoother. If it apparently isn’t urgent, then you’ve saved your colleagues time, money, and effort, which they can channel towards more important matters.
Talk to your teammate about how his or her work attitude is affecting others.
There are people who are just inherently “nakatataranta.” Oftentimes, they don’t really mean to be, but their way of facing unexpected roadblocks can leave you and your team a little too breathless for comfort. As an article on Forbes notes, “When everything is labeled ‘urgent,’ nothing really is. But because friends, family, and business partners often carry smartphones, we assume that they are available to us 24/7, anywhere in the world.”
Of course, constant availability isn’t the case. While some industries (such as advertising and marketing) do thrive on urgency and will perpetually need someone on board, there are still ways to create systems that won’t disrupt personal time outside work hours. If you feel that your teammate is getting everyone on edge all the time, talk to him or her about it. If the person in question is your boss and you feel that he or she is hard to reason with, you can always approach HR, as incessant nagging can really cause burnouts, which lowers the efficiency of your team.
Give a timeline and always disseminate information.
One reason why some people tend to nag about certain tasks is that their expectations aren’t properly managed. This happens most when your colleague’s job only starts when yours is done. Anxiety can build when the situation is out of his or her hands.
To keep those annoying emails with “ASAP” and “URGENT” on a minimum, make sure to create a timeline of your workflow and send it to the people involved. Of course, that goes without saying that you need to stick to them. If for some reason your schedule changes, always keep everyone concerned updated so that they can also adjust their time frames accordingly.
Know that a corporate crisis is always urgent.
When the proverbial crap hits the fan, there’s really no time to dilly-dally. You’ll need to jump into the fray with band-aid solutions to at least buy you time to think of something better and more long-term. Being quick to respond when it really matters shows that you have a handle on what’s really important, which gives you more credibility when you…
As you understand what really is urgent and what isn’t, you can now use your judgment to decline any requests with illogical deadlines. Being honest about your own workload can actually work much better for the team since you won’t be biting more than you can chew and your efficiency won’t be compromised. This doesn’t mean that you won’t help your colleague; you can always negotiate schedules and tasks. If what he or she is asking for is too much, you can say that you can only do a part of it, and give your own deadline. Be nice—you’re all just doing what needs to be done, after all.