Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

How I Achieve Efficiency Under Stress

When I thought about doing an internship at Koga, I knew I would have a decent amount of work. However, I completely underestimated the amount of work I would have and as of today, I am still surprised about all the responsibilities I have. All the work and highly important duties I have as the coordinator of two different programs, even though I am not an official employee, made me realize that Koga completely believes in my abilities to achieve our goals as an enterprise. However, these big responsibilities also brought a lot of stress on myself and forced me to learn how to efficiently achieve my objectives under pressure. Thanks to this internship I learned that in order to achieve efficiency during stressful situations I have to first take a break, write down all the things I have to do, change the location where I am working, and then work in each item of my list.

Taking a break during stressful situations is the first step towards achieving efficiency. Personally, when I am stressed I cannot think objectively. Taking a break is essential because it can help you distract from work, clarify your mind, and thus, it can help you brainstorm for solutions to problems. I normally take 10 to 15-minute walks. I like going for walks because when I am stressed all of my body gets tense and walking helps me getting rid of all the tension.

After the walk, it is necessary to create a list of all the things you have to do. It does not have to be a chronological list, you can just write down all of your ideas and later organize them chronologically. This is very important because the visualization of all the tasks you have to do will help you identify what you exactly have to do and when so that you don’t feel “lost” in all that amount of work.

Once you have your list, try to find a new place where to work. Sometimes stress is directly related to the place where we are – yes, the simple act of being in the same place for many hours can make you feel stressed. Hence, if you went for a walk to get rid of all the tension in your body and created a list of all the things you have to do, you should not go back to the place where the stress was born. I strongly recommend going somewhere else, even though it is right next to where you were. Being somewhere different will help you disconnect from the previous stressful place and thus, help you being calm while trying to achieve your new objectives.

Last, work in each item from the list. Try to do everything you can to finish the first one and when you do it, feel free to use a different color to cross it out from your list! Doing this will make you feel great about yourself because if you crossed something out, it means that you are actually doing work and are closer to being done with your duties! It will also give you more energy to continue.

If you feel that you are stressed again, repeat the walk/break and move to a different place again. Most importantly, if you feel you are not being productive at all, stop. It is better to stop and continue the next day than to get stressed and do poorly at work. You could stop doing what is stressing you and try to focus on a different duty, or completely stop. Both work!