Have you noticed how productive you can be when “under the gun?” Think about how much you got done before you went on your last vacation. If you are like most, you probably got more done in those last three days than in any other three days in the last quarter. We can all be ridiculously productive when we need to be. What if we could be at “pre-vacation productivity” more often?

Think about your attitude and how you work when we have limited time. If those habits work in clutch situations, why not use them more frequently to get more done with less stress?

When pressed for time people usually:

Get very clear. They will make a list. They will get crystal about what they absolutely need to accomplish. Nice-to-haves don’t get much attention.

Have a healthy impatience. People re-think whether they really need to go to that meeting or insist on an agenda. People will have a healthy tolerance for time spent on data sharing versus solving a problem, making a decision, or creating future steps.

Simplify. We start to consider other ways to get things done. Do I really need to make a beautiful 20 page powerpoint deck or will key bullet points suffice?

Get to a conclusion fast. A person is not replying to the email? A person pressed for time will pick up the phone or go to their office and get what they need.

We get to action fast. When pressed for time people will stop procrastinating and letting other busy work get in the way.

Moving at pre-vacation speed does not mean being an idiot to people. We can still be fast and assertive and still be the nice accommodating people that we want to be. However, seeing how fast and effective we can be under pressure should give us an idea of our potential speed.

If you had a Porshe, would you really be content to keep it in first gear?