“Let’s get it done ASAP.” How many times have you heard this from your boss? Maybe it was an urgent phone call or an email flagged as “high priority.” The pressure of a countdown. Tick, tick, tick… But let’s be real — I bet those demanding “needed it yesterday” calls and emails did not speed up your work.

Your boss cannot make you work faster. The motivation to do great work and do it fast has to come from within.

I have always worked in fast-paced environments. This is probably because I get bored easily. And unfortunately, even in those environments, I have had bosses who yelled and ranted. One even chased people around the conference room table when the team did not produce. I have also known leaders who preferred to whine and hover when the team lagged behind.

All of these experiences informed what I call The Responsive Method (TRM), a framework for success that is grounded in the belief that interactions with urgency propel people and organizations forward. But this framework is not dependent on corporate urgency alone to deliver meaningful results. Individuals do that.

Success comes when you pair urgency with individual and team commitment.

So no, you do not need (or want) a demanding boss to help you work faster. But you do need to demand the best from yourself.

Here is how I suggest you speed up your own progress:

Own the goals
The work comes faster when you know exactly where you are going. So, get clear on the team’s goals and how your own work fits in. Not only will this help you know where you are headed — it will also hold you accountable for getting there.

Look ahead
As you consider your goals, look ahead and make some calculated predictions. What challenges are likely to arise? And what will you need to do to counter those challenges? By looking forward, through the lens of your goals, you can work to sidestep potential pitfalls.

Team up
Sometimes you can become blind to your own pace or become dependent on others to pick up speed. This is where your team comes in. Ask your boss and team what you could improve upon. If you need help getting there, ask for that too. And be sure to offer the same support back to your team.

Stay fresh
Now, stop and take a breath. Yes, you want to go fast — but you do not want to go so fast that you lose sight of the goals. So, assess where you are and where you want to be. How quickly do you need to move to get to that next point? Create a realistic plan for getting there, whether it is asking your team for support or improving your own skills.

Your boss may pressure you to work faster. But remember that there is only one person who can control your pace — you.

So, rev up and find your own motivation and inspiration. When you do, you will find that your pace naturally picks up too. You will work hard because you are driven by a desire to be productive and earn achievements that matter to you.

How do you find motivation at work?

Originally published on the Aha! blog