Under Pressure

Pressure tends to be synonymous with negativity. When we’re under pressure to produce something, we often feel stunted or limited. However, pressure in some forms can be a use for good.

Anyone who knows me, or has read even just a couple of my posts, will know I procrastinate…. A lot…. I’ve recently learned that my procrastination stems from many things, sometimes it’s laziness, and sometimes it’s fear masking itself as laziness. One things for certain though, regardless of why I procrastinate, the truth of the matter is that I do.

If you give me a choice of an evening of relaxing in front of the TV, playing a video game, enjoying some junk food, or watching Friends for the millionth time (we’ve made our way up to season 10 last weekend; the end is finally in sight!), OR, an evening working hard on my dream. I’ll pick the former; never the latter. I know dreams don’t just fall on your lap, and I know anyone who has made it to anywhere has done so with a large degree of motivation, persistence, and will. Following your dreams is often hard, sometimes tedious, and can be quite stressful. That negative voice in my mind has a lot to say about them, usually along the lines of “The sooner you try, the sooner you fail” or “If you start writing, you’ll learn you can’t write”. And so, because my dream has no set deadline, besides that I which I set myself, I fail to amount to following them.

This idea that I need a deadline is one I’ve addressed before, and it’s something Greg and I have identified whilst discussing the future of Level Up Photography. As neither of us were able to secure leave from work to follow this dream (more on that in a future post), we have had to ask some difficult questions.

The main question was: “Do we still want to do this?“.
The answer was a firm: “Yes

This lead to the question: “Can we do this?
The answer was a little longer.

I mentioned this on Fridays post, but I’ll break it down into a little more detail here. We had decided that, in between paid work, we became lazy and unmotivated. We rested on our lorrels and waited for customers to come to us. We both had full time jobs that we could stand and that paid well, there was no pressure to draw in my clients, no pressure to get the website fully functioning, no pressure to… Do. If we wanted to still do this, which we did, we had to make a change. This change had to be both in how we worked and how we saw ourselves. What we needed was more drive, what we needed to do was more work, and one of the best motivators for that, we felt, was a bit of pressure.

Now, don’t get me wrong, too much pressure can go the wrong way; it can be a source of stress and anxiety, it can lead to us procrastinating even more. However, a little pressure, can be a big influence. Together, we’ve set dates, we’ve set deadlines. Together, we’ve listed the tasks that needs doing and assigned ownership. There’s pressure on me to work, because I know Greg is working. There’s pressure on Greg to work, because he knows I am. There’s pressure on us both to work, because we have deadlines that we want to hit for the benefit of us both. Pressure, when used effectively, when used within a plan that is achievable, can be a fantastic motivator.

We are having a Motivated May. We are under pressure to do more for our company than we’ve ever done before and, for the first time in a while, I feel pretty damn motivated about it.

Over to you.

How do you work best? Do you need that little bit of pressure? Or do you work best with free reign?

Let me know in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “Under Pressure

  1. Pingback: How to open doors – aghisla draws

  2. But when it’s a dream, there is never any pressure to fulfill it. It’s up to you. Is it what you really want or not? Nobody is going to give you a deadline for dream-fulfillment, you have to do it if you want to. I can understand not wanting to try something you fear you might fail at, but that’s not the same thing. If you don’t want to take the risk, there’s never going to be someone to force you to. I don’t have a TV, I hate games of all kinds, and I hate snacking. I love writing. A fun evening for me is to be able to write, in silence, at whatever I want to. If that’s your dream too, unplug the TV, lock up the console or tablet or whatever you game on, leave the snacks in the cupboard and indulge your dream. Dreams are never right or wrong. You have to learn to do whatever you do to the best of your ability. There was only one Tolstoy, Mozart, Rembrandt, so you can’t be any of them. You are unique and what you offer is unique. Just do it and stop pissing about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so 100% right, Jane.

      I think you touch on the main issue there; distraction. I think I’m a creature of far too much distraction and I’m too willingly lead astray to doing something else.

      I think the other thing is that of immediate reward. Writing, as you well know, is a very challenging thing; but it has amazing end results. Whereas TV/Games/Etc have instantaneous rewards, but in the long run, are not very fulfilling at all.

      What I find is I forget about this in the moment, and I try to fill that hole within myself with these other pursuits, only to come full circle awhile later and think “What am I missing?” and it’s always that sense of fulfilment. It’s always that lack of creativity.

      It sounds pretty stupid to say somethings your dream, but then to put less work into it than other, meaningless activities, but those distractions with instant rewards have that little bit too much hold on me. It’s something I’m definitely increasingly aware of though, and comments like yours help me see that little bit clearer too.

      On another note, I might get “Just do it and stop pissing about” on a poster for my office… Or as an Acknowledgement if I ever finish that book!

      Like

      1. I totally understand the need for instant gratification. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it isn’t diverting you from what you feel you ought to be doing. One way I get round it is by writing very short things, like flash fiction and poetry as ‘a reward’. I can stop working on ‘the big thing’ that’s doing my head in and channel the creativity into something short and sweet that’s finished in about ten minutes.
        The other point I’d make is to change the way you look at writing. I just said, the quick fix stuff can be a diversion from what you feel you ‘ought” to be doing. ‘Ought’ is the wrong word. It’s a work word. For a long time writing was the thing I ought not to be doing so it was a sneaky pleasure. Maybe I’m just a bit infantile, but I still find that the things I oughtn’t to be doing are much more fun that the stuff that absolutely has to be done. Could you tackle if from that angle? Snatch yourself a half an hour or even fifteen minutes of private time to write and tell yourself that you can’t have more than that. It might work.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve been waiting to address this comment, Jane, because it’s been on my mind a lot.

          This comment chain, along with some other factors in my life, have had me thinking about “Instant Gratification” and, how really, it’s not very gratifying if we have it 24/7. Also, how whilst it’s gratifying at the time, it’s not in the long run. Those have especially stood out.

          In response, I’ve realised that I’m at a lowest when I’m at my least productive (both in terms of Day Job, Chores, Writing, Photography, etc etc). The less I do, the more I crave Instant Gratification, and the more I crave that, the less I do… Bad cycle, right?

          It’s took awhile to realise that. But after the past week, I’ve started to push myself more. I’ve even started writing more (you’ll be happy to hear!) and I’m planning to keep this productivity up.

          Oh, and in regards to your ‘quick fixes’, it’s actually quite timely you mentioned that, as over the past few months I’ve been trying to dabble a little in poetry in my downtime… but, I’m still learning!

          Like

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on pressure!
    I usually react badly to any amount of pressure from other people, because I know I would be miserable if they get used to simply put pressure on me to make me comply. I prefer to make clear that explanations and persuasion work way better. I think it is a way for me to protect me from doing too much for others, and a reminder that I have to take care of myself and my energies. I can accomplish tasks fast without the need to whip myself at all, and I wish that this can be seen as a proof by other people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I was like that, Aghisla. I find that I need a good whipping to get into gear! Haha. Partly why I set myself the goal of blogging once a week, it’s keeping that commitment to myself and my readers and it’s that pressure to succeed. If I didn’t have that deadline, I don’t know what I’d do…

      Liked by 1 person

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