Workplaces are becoming more stressful, generally because of the constant connectivity we now experience through the internet and devices, and the way technology has made certain tasks easier, allowing us to do more and more.
Add this to jobs that were already stressful before, and you’ve got the recipe for an extremely tiresome profession. Just like project management can sometimes be.
Project managers have stressful jobs because you are expected to get your project completed on time, under budget, but keeping to very high standards of quality. It’s difficult, but it’s what every client expects. Here are some stress reduction tips to help project managers blow off some steam and cope with a stressful profession in a busy world.
Stress Reduction Tip #1: Learn to Say No
We all want to please our clients. We want to be the best at what we do, and often this means we will try to do all we can to solve a problem, or to go above and beyond. The issue is not all problems can be solved, and above and beyond actually has a limit. Taking care of your health and wellbeing will help make you a better project manager, and a happier one.
Remember this helpful phrase that’s been repeated by several influencers but you still may not have heard: “No is a complete sentence.” The idea is you don’t need to find detailed reasons and explanations to explain to someone why you can’t or won’t do something. Sometimes you just aren’t able to fulfill a request. Obviously, within reason, you don’t want to say no to everything. But people understand you have to take care of yourself and sometimes you just have to say “no, sorry, what you’re asking for can’t be done.”
Stress Reduction Tip #2: Prioritize Tasks
Organize everything you have to do in order of urgency and importance. By breaking down your workload into smaller chunks and by taking care of the most important tasks first, you can reduce a hectic day into much more manageable chunks. You probably already do this in your head to some extent, but you may be surprised how much the simple act of creating a physical or digital list can organize your thoughts and help you see problems in a more manageable way.
Stress Reduction Tip #3: Ask for Help
It may feel like weakness to admit to another human being you are not able to keep up with your workload and you need help. But often asking for help from stakeholders will reassure them rather than distress them. Showing you know when to ask for help displays that you won’t run a project into the ground through an oversized ego. You know your limits and when a strategy needs to be changed. You won’t promise the world and then underdeliver. The people you’re working with will gain trust and relate to you as a fellow human being: as someone who needs help from time to time, just like everyone else.
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