Permanent emergency at work: who is to blame and what to do

Permanent emergency at work: who is to blame and what to do KNOW YOURSELF

Permanent emergency at work: who is to blame and what to do

Almost every one of us at least once had a colleague who continually tried to attract our attention. In his emails there was always a note “URGENT !!!” – exactly like this: capital letters and a lot of exclamation points. He contacted us after hours or during breaks and demanded to drop everything and take up his “burning” project. His affairs and concerns have always been more important than ours. Such people prevent us from living and steal our time. It’s time to learn to say no to them.

Most likely, you yourself understand that for the sake of your own peace of mind you must establish boundaries in communicating with intrusive people, but at the same time worry about how not to lose a normal working relationship. How to do it? First of all, it depends on who exactly constantly requires you to do “urgent” work.


If your colleague begins to panic when the project is due, remember: you cannot influence his reaction, but you control yourself. “Stress and anxiety are contagious, but the same can be said for calm,” explains clinical psychologist Monique Reynolds.

“Many do not dare to object when they are required to urgently do something. This behavior is based on fear: “I have 15 more cases, but I can’t refuse him, because he can harbor a grudge against me or think that I am incompetent,” Reynolds explains. If you recognize yourself in this description, the next time this person addresses you with an “urgent” request, take a short pause to respond consciously, rather than submitting to the first instinctive reaction.

If your colleague’s perseverance causes you physical symptoms of stress: an adrenaline rush, a fast heartbeat or an unpleasant feeling in your stomach – exhale deeply and take a short break to calm down. Monique Reynolds also advises the following exercise: “Look around, pay attention to 5 objects, then listen and highlight 4 sounds, then 3 tactile sensations, 2 olfactory and 1 taste”. This exercise allows you to return to the reality of the present moment and transfer control from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. After that, you will be able to consider how best to respond.

We all take urgency differently. What is urgent for one, for the other is just another item on the to-do list

In a calm state, you can clearly indicate your boundaries. It’s not about you “not coping” or “not working fast enough on the project,” it’s about your personal working rhythm.

“Do not be afraid to bring the situation to the attention of your immediate superior,” advises HR manager Elaine Varelas. “This can be done tactfully without blaming the colleague who is rushing you with incompetence:“ I need help. [Такой-то], it seems, does not have time and requires me to urgently do [работу]but it’s not possible in such a time. ”

You have the right to ask a colleague what dates were originally discussed: “When did you get this project?” Don’t rush to agree, find out the details – this will help to understand whether the work really needs to be done urgently.

“Try to rely on facts – what exactly needs to be done and why. We all take urgency differently. What is urgent for one, for the other is just another item on the to-do list, ”recommends career counselor and social worker Sumaya Essak.


“If you have to tell unpleasant news to someone outside of your company (for example, a client), for a start it is better to recall the positive aspects of your cooperation, and then explain what difficulties prevent you from doing the work at the highest level. For example: “I really like working with you, and we are doing great. But so that I can do everything as efficiently as possible, please place orders in advance – not in a day, but in three days, ”advises Elaine Varelas.

Thus, you make it clear that the problem is not in you and not in the client, but in the delays of the production process. Ask the client what deadlines he considers reasonable and how much your deadlines will suit him. Make it clear that emergency situations do happen, but they cannot become the “new norm” and occur regularly.

“It is important to clearly define the normal rhythm of your cooperation. Emergency, urgent work can only be a rare exception, ”emphasizes Varelas.


In most cases, we cannot directly refuse to comply with the requirements of the authorities. But if you are constantly overloaded with work, do not be afraid to say so, because chronic processing threatens with exhaustion. “The bosses should not expect that you will always carry out any tasks in the same time frame. You should be able to say: “It will take me so many hours,” Varelas explains.

Make it clear: any urgent work means that everything else will temporarily fade into the background. Ask the boss what he would like to get in the first place: “I am ready to do this right now, but then I’ll have to delay [проект]. “In this case, it is desirable to show that you understand the urgency of the task and are ready to complete it,” the expert adds.

At best, your boss will adequately perceive your comments. If this does not happen, perhaps it’s time to think about changing your job

It is important that your boss understands your situation. To do this, you can introduce him to your current priorities. “If you are given an urgent task, you should have the opportunity to say:“ I’m working on [задачей]I understand that the matter is urgent due [причин]. If I take it now [другую работу] will have to be postponed until tomorrow – is it okay? ””, explains Sumaya Essak.

If the reason for the constantly occurring “emergency” is unreasonable demands from the employer, for the sake of your mental health and well-being it is important to discuss the situation with your superiors. “At best, your boss will adequately perceive your comments and show understanding. If this does not happen, perhaps it is time to think about changing the place of work, ”the expert said.

You yourself

If you yourself notice a tendency to see “urgency” everywhere, it may be time to review your priorities in work. Monique Reynolds advises asking himself: “Is this really a real rush or am I rushing myself simply because I don’t like it when I have unfinished business and I don’t have enough stress resistance to distribute responsibilities?”

Understood that the second is true? Then think about how many career opportunities you lose because of such limiting beliefs. Those who are focused only on quickly completing all the scheduled tasks often lose sight of the big picture, more ambitious and significant goals.

If you constantly rush your colleagues and demand to complete tasks in an emergency mode, think about how your behavior affects the effectiveness of teamwork. Do not forget that the resources of your team are not unlimited. If you use 90% of these resources to accomplish an “urgent” task, your colleagues are unlikely to be able to effectively do anything else.

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