I’ve been told by friends who cook that there is a device called a pressure cooker and that this pressure cooker has advantages over the everyday pots and pans they also tell me exist. If you know me, you know that the neighborhood is safer if I avoid all kitchen activities, so I will take their word on this matter.
From what I have learned, a pressure cooker can help tenderize a tough cut of meat, cook food faster, preserve nutrients, save time and energy costs, and even preserve food. It operates on the idea of “concentrated cooking” where everything is contained within the pan during cooking and very little moisture escapes via a release valve on the top. Now, it will make a lot of noise, like it’s going to explode, but it seldom happens because there is a safety valve on the pan as well.
What does this have to do with business?
Well…just about everything. Business is high pressure these days. There are tough competitors, tough markets, and tough expectations. Leading a business, large or small, is not for the faint of heart.
But there’s one thing I’ve learned from business and from my friends who cook: pressure can be a good thing.
Here are 3 advantages of pressure.
It saves time.
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. If the lid is off and you have all day to do something, it is very likely that you will take all day to do it. If the pressure is on, and you only have thirty minutes, you may actually complete it with time to spare.
It makes us focus.
It makes us hone in on the one thing that must be done at a given moment in time. It forces us to eliminate distractions and simply get it done. And with such intense focus, it also helps us get it done well. There are times when you need a great deal of time to accomplish, say, a work of art. But there are times when intense focus actually helps you get something done better.
It preserves our interest.
If you have a six months to do a project, chances are you will start to dread it after about three days. We’ve all had those times where we just wish it were done already! If you have a very focused day to do it, your energy will be high, and you will actually accomplish more. Now, that doesn’t mean every project can be completed in a day. In the case of a long-term project, it helps to create benchmarks…those things you will accomplish in a given time period. This provides a feeling of accomplishment along the way to a long-term goal and lessens the boredom factor.
Now my friends did warn me that a pressure cooker will blow up if the pressure gets too high and there’s no moisture in the pan. This, again, is why I do not participate in kitchen activities.
In this high pressure world in which we live, how do we maintain an acceptable level of pressure? That will be the subject of our next article.
In the meantime, as you go about your activities this week, begin to look at pressure as a means to make you better.
Faced with a challenge? Welcome it, and train yourself to think in terms of solutions, not problems.
Faced with a deadline? Break it down into manageable pieces, set a timer, and hit it hard and fast.
Bored? Decide you will finish by a certain time so you can take a break and do something you enjoy.
You might just surprise yourself at how much you can accomplish in a short period of time…under pressure.