Stress management tips for Project Leaders

The past decade or so has seen significant volatility in economic climate and business environment, leading to increased stress at the workplace. According to a study, employers are spending over $300Bn a year in stress related health care and missed work. Over 87% of workers worldwide are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive (Statistics Source: Officevibe ).

Stress management tips for Project Leaders
Credit: Freeimages.com

In the context of project management, managing stress is crucial to project success. For effective stress management in the workplace project leaders need to be proactive and adopt a preventive approach for themselves as well as for their teams. In this blog we will discuss stress management tips for project leaders.

Planning is not an option, it’s a must

”If you don’t know where you are going. How can you expect to get there?” ~ Basil S. Walsh

In our daily lives, uncertainty is the biggest source of stress. When dealing with projects, not knowing what you are working towards can be a disaster waiting to happen. The planning phase is critical to the success of the project as it helps scope the project down to the last level of detail in terms of objectives, resources, effort, skills and challenges. The more you know upfront, the better prepared you are. The better prepared you are, fewer the surprises. That’s the key to keeping stress at bay. As a Project Leader, make sure to never cut corners when it comes to project planning. Every minute spent is worth it!

Get time on your side

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”~ Zig Ziglar

This quote pretty much shatters the myth about time management as we perceive it. It is not about how much time we have; what we do with it makes all the difference in the world. When you feel time slipping away too fast, stress is lurking just around the corner. The good news is that a great degree of control can be exercised and such stress can be avoided.

  1. Prioritization: Not all work can be urgent, neither can it all be low priority. The key is to figure out an order in which tasks get done, based on parameters such as complexity, importance, order and client requirements, to name a few. This should give you a sense of control in the short to mid-term.
  2. Scheduling: Once a project has been broken into tasks, develop a balanced execution schedule. It’s always comforting to know how your time is going to be spent and what you are going to get from it. A well planned schedule brings control and visibility to time management, thereby reducing the scope for stress.
  3. Control waste: We live in an age where mobiles and social networks command a significant portion of our time and attention. According to studies, 77% of employees who have a Facebook account use it at work and some end up spend at least 2 hours on it every day (Source: Social Media Today). Such distractions could throw time management initiatives out of the window and induce a high degree of stress. A combination of good governance and the right work culture is required to keep such behaviour in control. To create a healthy time management culture, project leaders need to find the right balance between exercising authority and creating awareness. 

Be mindful

”The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” ~William James

A 100% stress free workplace is not realistic. You can plan well, have the right culture, be brilliant at time management and still be part to stressful situations. That’s just the nature of leadership. Stress is part of the profile. However the news is not all grim. Being mindful at work can help manage stress and stay calm and focused.

  1. Self-awareness: Stress is primarily an emotional response to problematic situations. Over a period of time this can affect decision making, behaviour and response. Self-awareness gives you the ability to balance emotional and logical thinking for making better decisions.
  2. Work life balance: Leaders who are passionate about delivering outcomes, often get so caught up that they start ignoring their personal space. As the old saying goes ‘’All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’’. A healthy mind and a healthy body are a must for a healthy career. Keeping time aside for family, nurturing a hobby and spending time on fitness are just few of the ways to maintain a healthy work life balance.
  3. Human side of project management: A leader leads people, not resources. Good leadership is about putting your people first. Investing time and effort in understanding their strengths, nurturing their talent and motivating them will go a long way in building a work culture that breeds success.

Stress management has become a huge priority for companies today and justifiably so. With a doubt leaders have the most important role to play in creating a stress free work culture without compromising on performance. To all those Project leaders out there making it happen, we salute you!

Author: Sanket Pai, Head, Customer & Product Experience at Celoxis

Sanket Pai

About Celoxis:

Celoxis is a comprehensive project management tool that helps companies streamline management of projects, time sheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization. Over the last decade, Celoxis has specialized in delivering improved collaboration and increased efficiency for teams of all sizes, both in SMB and Enterprise segments. To know more visit www.celoxis.com 

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