Working on a project becomes hectic for too many reasons. You might not get the actual goals and objectives of the project. This results in delays in project deliverables. You might be late on project deliverables due to inadequate resources, inefficient team members, no proper project schedule, and leaving all the tasks to be done at last minute. Due to a variety of issues, the project can be a cause of burden and stress for the project manager.
If a project manager is too stressed to handle the project, nothing can go right. A project manager needs to stay active, confident, and stress-free. Following are the 12 simple tips that can greatly help in reducing stress for the project manager:
1. Get A Deeper Insight Of The Project Before Putting Your Hands On It
It is the best way to start your project. You need to have a deeper insight into the project. What are the objectives of the project? How much staff is required to complete the project? What are the demands and expectations of project stakeholders? What has to be the quality of project deliverable? By what means and in how much time will the project be completed? All of these questions must be given a good focus to get a deeper insight into the project.
When you are clear about all the different dimensions, demands, and expectations of a project, working on it becomes easier and comes without stress. Also, it gives you a head start to kick your project off. With this simplest tip, the project becomes much more manageable.
Not only this, you can make your team better understand their desired roles and responsibilities if you have a strong understanding of the project. It helps in directing your team in a much efficient and active way. So having a good understanding of the project before putting your hands on it will save you from unnecessary burden and stress.
2. Keep A Positive Attitude
Keeping your attitude positive is key to fight stress. Whenever something stressful comes around, deal with it positively.
A positive attitude helps you stay confident and optimistic. With a positive mind, you can focus more on health outcomes rather than failures. A positive attitude is a great source to identify all the weak points and then work on them calmly and positively. Stressing more over already stressed things keeps delaying the task and leads to the overburden.
When you keep a positive attitude, your team members get to learn a great deal from you. You become a source of motivation and inspiration for them to deal with challenges and constraints positively. Overall, it enhances your personality as a project member. Practicing positive attitude eventually becomes a part of your personality. In this way, stress will not dare to stray around you.
3. Set Common Objectives And Goals For Shared Responsibilities
Another key tip to reduce stress is to set common objectives for all the team members. There should be a single project charter everyone must adhere to. Also, it is important for all the team members to be on the same page when working as a team. When everyone has understood the project goals and objectives clearly, the roles and responsibilities can be distributed and assigned properly.
In this way, every team member makes sure that he fulfills his responsibility properly and on time. When all the assigned work is getting done on time, there remains no room for stress and work overload. On the other hand, if there is no sense of shared responsibilities and understanding of clear objectives, assigned tasks can never be completed on time. And then, stress is all for the project manager alone.
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Therefore, it is a healthy tip for the project manager to set common objectives for the team members at the start of the project to create shared responsibilities. It saves him from any stress at later stages.
4. Divide The Project Work Into Sprints For No Last Minute Stress
The safest tip to get rid of stress is to divide the work into smaller parts and then complete them on deadline. It is better to divide work into sprints. It is difficult to deal with larger chunks of work one at a time. When the work is divided into workable parts among the team members, it ensures that no work is accumulated for the last minute.
It is also important to divide these smaller chunks of project tasks among team members according to their skills and capabilities. When everyone is performing the role he masters, work is done within time.
An important approach to use for this process is Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). By formulating WBS, the project manager can divide and prioritize the tasks according to the project schedule. This makes sure that the important tasks are done first and those with relatively less importance are scheduled for later on. Also, with this developed work chain, project tasks are completed on-by-one yet on time. So utilize this tip for no last-minute stress.
5. List Down Your Tasks To Form A Proper Project Schedule/Plan
Here comes another essential part of a project that serves as a great tip to reduce stress. When the tasks keep coming in from here and there, team members and project manager himself is confused over which task to get done with first. This is why we need a proper project schedule for the project.
Project schedule must be developed before starting the project. It helps in listing down all the tasks according to the plan. It leads to no workload and easy flow of the project. When the project schedule is followed, deadlines are met easily. Thus, there is no stress.
Even if there is a little stress to meet the deadline, it does not get on your nerves. With this little stress, you will be working more efficiently. Therefore, the stress is reduced.
6. Neither Be Too Structured Nor Too Flexible
The project manager must be easily approachable. As a project manager, you must know how important is it to keep your team together and develop confidence in them. The best way is to neither bee too structures nor too flexible.
If you are too structured, team members will hesitate to contact you in the time of need. And when they are coming up with different solutions on their own, it might lead to other challenges in the project. Now, there is no need to be too flexible, either. It makes the team members irresponsible, and the project work is not completed on time. In the end, you will get stressed.
The best way is to adopt a balanced approach. This will ensure that your team comes to you whenever there is a big challenge, and so, the solution can be identified and implemented on time. Also, it makes all the team members aware of the fact that there is going to be no compromise over not meeting deadlines.
In this way, there is no room for stress for yourself as you know well how to keep your team on the track.
7. Improve Your Interpersonal Skills
Improving interpersonal skills is a lifelong process. One can never acquire ideal interpersonal skills but should keep working on them. Focusing on yourself for becoming better is something every project manager should do. A project manager should be good enough at communication. He should know how to develop a solid plan to fulfill project tasks at a time. He should be acquiring a positive attitude towards the risks and challenges. It benefits you a lot in the long run. Your career, as well as your personality, is enhanced.
Having strong interpersonal skills will allow you to communicate effectively, tackle the problems efficiently, and handle the project well. With no delayed tasks and smooth workflow, there will be no stress. Hence, improving interpersonal skills is a key to lesser stress and better personality of a project manager.
8. Use Cognitive-Behavioral Approach
The cognitive behavioral approach helps greatly in dealing with stress. This approach must be implemented to modify your thinking patterns that eventually produce positive changes in your actions.
How we think impacts how we feel and how we feel impacts how we act, says cognitive behavioral approach.
According to the cognitive-behavioral approach, the way you take a stressful situation highly effects how you are going to react towards that situation. For example, when you think that “this is never going to get okay,” adrenaline rushes into your nervous system that adds more to the physical anxiety. In this way, you take more time to come up with a workable solution. The tasks keep getting delayed, and stress keeps adding on.
On the other hand, if you think that “yes this task is challenging, but there must be a way out,” it helps you in focusing on all the positive prospects that can help you get out of the challenging situation as soon as possible.
In other words, the cognitive-behavioral approach stresses on being neither too realistic nor too idealistic. Adopting a moderate approach towards stressful situations greatly contribute towards reducing the stress.
9. Stay Ready With All The Alternative Approaches
This tip is the most useful tip of all times in dealing with stress. A capable and efficient project manager is the one who always has a Plan B in place in case Plan A does not work out. This lets you be at peace and build confidence.
When you are confident enough that you have already had an alternative approach, it does not make you come under stress and burden if the first plan fails. Also, there might not be enough time to prepare a full-fledged Plan B after Plan A fails. Therefore, the best strategy is to stay ready with all the alternative approaches.
These approaches are very beneficial to be used during the experimentation period. Having different approaches can help you in coming up with the best one after experimenting with each of them. This reduces stress and makes the project efficient.
10. Take Short But Frequent Breaks
When you keep working for a long time continuously, you keep losing strength. The capability of mind is decreased with continuous focus. When you take a break for a short period, it allows your mind and body to regain strength and boost your body activity again.
It is highly recommended to take short and frequent breaks. These kind of breaks are better than getting sick and taking a long break, which would add more work as well as stress. Therefore, taking ten minutes to break after every two hours of work is a great idea to reduce stress.
11. Spare Some Time For Discussions Other Than Work With The Team Members
It is not very healthy to keep talking about work all the time. It drains out the energy and morale to work on the project. Make sure you act as a cheerful leader who knows when is it time to talk something else than business.
It helps in relaxing the minds of team members as well. Come up with some healthy discussing topics that will freshen the mind and body. This makes getting back to work easily with high morale.
12. Exercise Regularly, Sleep Properly And Eat Healthily
Last but not least, it is important for the project manager to stay physically fit like every other person. Physical fitness comes with three simple tasks: exercising regularly, sleeping properly, and eating healthy. Make sure you have a good exercising, sleeping, and eating routine. This keeps you physically fit, your mind will be fresh, and your body will be active.
In this way, you do not get prone to stress on every little risk and challenge coming in the way.
Therefore, working on these tips will highly benefit you as a project manager. Make these healthy tips a part of your daily life, and you will observe a clear difference in your stress graph. Utilizing these tips will lower down your stress graph, for sure.