Stressed manager

Living in a fast-paced world can cause high amounts of stress. As a manager, you may experience even more stress by struggling to balance what is best for the business and keeping your team happy. Though some stress is normal, excessive stress can wear you down emotionally and physically and will lower your productivity and job satisfaction. In this article, we discuss ways that you can reduce stress and the way it affects you.

Identify the Source of Your Stress

In order to cope with stress, you must identify the source. It may be one of the common causes of workplace stress for managers which include:

  • Extreme workload – including unnecessary projects

  • Working overtime

  • Too many meetings

  • Pressure to meet rising expectations

  • Pressure to work at your highest level all of the time

  • Limited resources

  • Tension or conflict with employees
  • Projects in conflict with strategy

Ways to Reduce Stress

Avoid Unnecessary Stress

Before learning to cope with stress, you must determine what you can do to avoid stress in the first place:

Avoid sources of stress. Sometimes stress is unavoidable, but if you can eliminate sources of stress, do it! For example, if you are stressed out because you are in meetings all day and can’t accomplish your actual work, then limit yourself to only the meetings for which you are an integral part.

Don’t accept more responsibility than you can handle. If you take on more responsibility than you can truly handle, you will be less productive on all tasks and this will certainly lead to stress. If you feel you are at your limit, make sure that you’ve built a good team and delegate some of the responsibilities. Using tools and software to their fullest can also reduce stress. For instance, your PPM solution should help you to determine if any projects can be eliminated through an analysis of resource management, capacity, budget and alignment to strategy.

Adapt to the Situation

If it is impossible to avoid a situation, do what you can to adapt to the situation to make it less stressful:

Deal with the problem head on. If you have a complicated project, your first inclination may be to put it off and work on an easier project. While procrastinating may be tempting, this project will still be in the back of your head and causing stress anyway. Make a plan of action. Completing the complicated tasks or projects first will give you a sense of accomplishment and will allow you to focus the rest of the day on easier and more enjoyable tasks. For example, if you are stressed because multiple projects are understaffed, use your PPM to gain visibility to any bottlenecks that may occur and determine the optimal allocation of your limited resources.

Look at the big picture. Think about the situation you are stressing over and try to put it into perspective. How important will this situation be in the long run? In all likelihood, it is not worth wasting the time and energy on getting upset, but instead use that time and energy to figure out how to complete the project as efficiently as possible.

Don’t expect perfection. If you are a perfectionist, then you are probably very familiar with stress. None of us can perform perfectly, so expecting perfection sets us up for failure. You always want to do your best and strive for continuous improvement, but don’t expect perfection. It is better to be reasonable and set standards for ourselves that are actually achievable.

Organize and Prioritize

Prioritize your Projects. It is easy to get overwhelmed by your “to do” list. Having and using the right tools can make managing your project portfolio easy and drastically reduce stress. Using an interactive PPM software allows you to easily create scenarios to determine which projects make sense from all points of view: strategy, budget, resources and capacity. This will help you to quickly figure out which projects aren’t urgent or should be eliminated completely. The right PPM solution will also include Resource Management, so that you will always know what resources are on what project and the available capacity. In this way, you have flexibility to reassign resources based on project need and capacity.

Practice good time management. Once you know what projects take priority and you have used your PPM software to help determine the right timing for each project, do your best to keep to that schedule. Schedule 15 minute meetings weekly for quick team updates and to ensure that your timing is on track.

Break big projects into smaller ones. If a single project is becoming overwhelming, break it down into smaller projects. You can have multiple team members each focus on one mini-project at a time, which will make you even more productive and eliminate a lot of stress.

Don’t expect perfection. If you are a perfectionist, then you are probably very familiar with stress. None of us can perform perfectly, so expecting perfection sets us up for failure. You always want to do your best and strive for continuous improvement, but don’t expect perfection. It is better to be reasonable and set standards for ourselves that are actually achievable.

Coping with Stress Meisterplan

Take Time to Relax at Work

Learn to Relax. Taking time to relax throughout your work day can clear your mind and help you to recharge which will reduce a lot of stress. Ways to relax at work include:

  • Take a few minutes on your break to go for a quick walk.
  • Take a couple of minutes every few hours to step back from your computer to stretch and breathe.
  • If it doesn’t interfere with your work, listen to music that relaxes or energizes you, whichever you prefer.