A term I hear often at work is “fire drill.” Priorities get elevated until there’s a problem and suddenly all eyes focus on it, scurrying for a solution. This surplus of effort detracts from other priorities, allowing them to inflate and erupt in a chain reaction of multi-stress. Not fun, and not efficient. Much of the energy is wasted in commotion which would be better spent re-engaging with the larger picture.
How do we go about de-escalating a fire drill? First, stop escalating. Keep control of the urge to move the issue up the chain of command. Think it through with co-workers on your management level. Second, relax, breathe, and step away for a brief amount of time. Write through the problem if it helps. Sometimes a simple break can give your mind the rest it needs to reset. Finally, consider a re-do rather than patching up what’s already there. A whole new version may seem like overkill, but piecemeal edits may gloss over the underlying glitch that created the problem in the first place.
Do you want to leave crisis mode behind? Or can a crisis improve your overall results?