Are You Using Adrenalin to Get the Job Done?

Signature:baed3687aecc9fc02b05e033f52ab04b5ac34144c6f0702c4e0cfe36f9d34041ADRENALIN – a substance that is released in the body of a person who is feeling a strong emotion (such as excitement, fear, or anger) and that causes the heart to beat faster and gives the person more energy

Adrenalin gives our body the burst of energy it requires exactly when it is necessary.  The increased cardiac output helps us run from danger or perform a daring feat like skydiving or bungee jumping.

The problem comes when you enjoy the burst of energy you get from adrenalin and recreate it when there is no element of danger present.

Sandra had to take an online course for her continued employment. Sandra told me she worked best under pressure so she had left the 15 module course work for the day before the deadline.  She set aside time in her busy schedule to do the work, closed her office door and poured several cups of coffee and worked through until 2 AM to complete the task. It is the adrenalin that helped her stay alert all night to get the job done on time.

NervousRalph accepted a project to please his boss.  His instincts told him that there was not enough time to do a really good job in the time he was allowed but he knew he could do it if he set his mind to it.  He began to work on it feeling rushed and knowing that his boss would be disappointed in him if he did not complete the work.    Adrenalin again let him get the job done.  He was on time but his work was not up to his usual high standards.  Ralph over-promised and under-delivered. He completed the project on time but at a cost to his personal well-being.

Sometimes businesses or managers purposely set up an atmosphere of fear so that all the employees who work there use adrenalin to get the job done.  This way of working has become so natural that people often don’t think it is a problem or they joke about it rather than treat it seriously.  In the case of businesses their management may point with pride to how well it works for them. Their bottom line has increased so the approach is successful.

In my days at AT&T I had a Vice President who created business crises and called them wars.  There was always an outside threat to the business that we had to work on night and day to insure success.  He even came to work in battle fatigues to get his message across and he was not opposed to blasting someone out verbally if they disagreed with his tactics.  Needless to say everyone did what he wanted.  The environment was one of fear.

The problem with being dependent on Adrenalin is that it becomes your preferred way of working.  You begin to create crises so that you get your work done.  You need that energy so you continually create more adrenalin type situations.  It is a vicious circle and begins to look like an addiction.  You’ve created a very unhealthy environment for yourself and possibly those close to you.

If you have ever told someone you worked best under pressure then you have the potential for being dependent on Adrenalin.  Now ask yourself if you purposely set up pressure situations to get your work done.

If adrenalin produces good results why not continue using that method?  First this energy form was meant to be used only when needed not on a constant basis.  A person who is constantly in crisis mode will burn out faster, will not be as creative, and will need more and more crises to get the work done.  If you are feeling burnt out or if you are not as creative as you once were check to see if you are in fact addicted to adrenalin.

Take Action

1.   Calculate the number of hours you will need to prepare for a project or course and schedule those hours in your calendar before you accept the work.

2.   Set some workable boundaries so that you do not have to accept work that has a due date that is uncomfortable for you.

3.   The next time someone asks you to do a project practice under-promising and over-delivering.

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