At some point in your career, you’ll encounter stressful situations on the job. A new assignment may loom larger than life. Unforeseen events like illness or family problems can cause stress. Asking for assistance too late has led many project managers to fail and watch the job fall apart.
How can you prevent this?
Planning ahead is key. You would be surprised how much stress you can avoid by following some simple guidelines. We analyzed tons of anti-stress tricks to compile a list of the top seven techniques. Here are our finest options!
Make a plan
When you’re under stress, your mind is probably racing a mile a minute. This makes it difficult to concentrate and figure out the right course of action. The best way around this blockage is to make a plan ahead of time for how you would react in certain stressful situations.
Write it down so you can quickly refer to it when needed. Our favorite solution is to create plans that we can track in real-time, so we tend to use tools like Evernote or even Microsoft Excel to follow the realization. Reviewing the plan in calm moments can help clear your head and enable you to solve problems more effectively.
Besides that, many successful people maintain written records of their daily routines. This history can be a great asset when you come under stress. It may seem like a silly idea, but the best way to use this resource is to write down how you reacted in stressful situations and your overall performance so far.
Set goals everyone can understand
Our colleagues from Careersbooster shared a productivity secret with us: Set goals everyone in your team can understand. That’s the only way to stay on the same track with the entire project team. More importantly, it is necessary to set SMART objectives:
- Specific: Target concrete goals rather than broad concepts that don’t really mean anything.
- Measurable: Quantify your goal to ensure that everyone knows when you have achieved your target.
- Achievable: Make sure that this objective is more than just a pipe dream. It needs to be within the possibilities of the project.
- Relevant: This is where you need to find a balance between what’s important and what’s not. You don’t want to strain the team beyond its capabilities, nor set them up for failure.
- Time-bound: Set a timeframe on which you plan to achieve this goal. Maybe it’s a week or a month. This is where you can really see how much progress has been made and identify if something is or isn’t working.
Another great method is to keep everyone involved in goal setting. You can also make the progress visible on a shared spreadsheet. Don’t forget to use colorful graphs that explain your objectives and how they’re progressing in easy-to-understand terms. This tactic can provide motivation for you and everybody else when stress starts taking its toll.
Remember to delegate tasks
Who says you have to do everything alone? Delegating responsibility helps build your teams’ confidence and motivation. Plus, you get the added benefit of stress relief since you don’t have to spend so much time planning and overseeing the project every single day.
It’s a two-way street here: giving people more responsibilities means less work for you. So, just pick your favorite tasks and assign others to the right people. Let somebody else take care of it. This way, you can focus more on what matters and enjoy a lower stress level.
Set your priorities
About 90% of all stress-related problems encountered by project managers can be traced to confusion about priorities. Since it’s such a common problem, we recommend that you implement a simple prioritization system.
The first priority should be a task or event with a huge impact on the entire organization or business. It must be the main focus of your work, so everything else must be left aside while handling this task. As soon as you finish the most important objective, the stress will reduce significantly.
Your second priority should have less impact on the company as a whole but it’s still worth focusing on. That’s why it can be extremely helpful to create project-related subcategories based on importance levels.
While it can be an effective time-saving measure, multitasking does nothing to reduce stress. You will often end up finishing all your tasks at the last minute anyway to the detriment of quality and productivity levels.
Instead of juggling three or four distractions at once (from emails to phone calls and back), dedicate specific chunks of time to one task. This way, you can work more efficiently and reduce the pressure that comes with deadlines.
Adjust on the go
Your initial plan will rarely turn out to be perfect. But following it strictly will only add to the pressure, won’t it? That’s why you need to make adjustments as you go along. This approach will help you handle the situation easier by making sure that everything is moving in the right direction.
Another thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. You can’t expect your company rulebook to work in every situation because real life often defies our best expectations. It’s all about managing your team, being flexible, and making quick decisions that lead to success if you want to manage the project under stress.
Learn from mistakes
Stressful situations are learning opportunities. Although everyone makes mistakes during a project, it’s important not to lose confidence when things go badly. Examine what went wrong and use this knowledge to improve in the future. That’s the only way to avoid stress in the long run.
Are you ready to get rid of that awkward stress? Use our tips and your projects will become much more comfortable!