In part one of this comprehensive series, we addressed the importance of being an effective communicator as a small business owner. It’s no secret that being a rock star project manager comes with its fair share of stress. It involves being able to multitask, delegate, come up with solutions to problems quickly, manage schedules, and oversee the progress of a specific task. This can be mentally exhausting and can take a toll on your mental health. Having rituals in place to keep stress at a minimum (and handle it effectively when it pops up) can help you remain in control even when things feel chaotic.
A significant part of managing stress is minimizing it in the first place. Being proactive, setting realistic goals, and understanding how to delegate correctly will help prevent stressful situations before they can affect your mental health. As a rock star project manager, you can keep stress levels down in the office by:
- Providing adequate training- Many employees stress when they don’t feel equipped for their job, or they don’t feel that their superiors are competent at the task at hand. Making sure everyone has the information and strategies to do their job well is one way to reduce stress in a small business.
- Prioritize Time Off and Mental Health- Your team is made up of humans, not corporate robots. Giving them time off and being aware of their stress levels will help create a more productive workspace.
- Set Realistic Goals and Expectations- Stress occurs when employees feel like they have too much to and not enough time to do it. Listen to concerns about unrealistic deadlines and offer time management techniques to help get everything done in a realistic time frame. When your team feels challenged but not overwhelmed, they’ll be able to do their job effectively without causing too much stress.
Even the most competent project manager can’t create a totally stress-free workplace, and things will get crazy and overwhelming from time to time. Employees will look to their PM to see how to handle stress. If you freak out or shut down, they’ll follow suit. When things start to feel chaotic, implement some of these stress management techniques to bring things down to a more manageable level:
Establish An Exercise Routine
Studies have proven time and time again that daily exercise is a significant stress reducer. Whether you join a gym, go for a morning run or do yoga after work, incorporating a good workout is a great way to let go of the troubles of the day, releases endorphins, and promotes an overall positive mindset that is better suited to solve problems and think critically.
It sounds very basic, but being able to control your breathing is one way to bring stress levels down. Practicing breathing techniques when you are calm can give you a coping mechanism when you feel overwhelmed. Focusing on your breathing can help you gain a fresh perspective on your current situation.
Schedule “You” Time
Being a rock star project manager shouldn’t mean being consumed in your work. Take time to do things that aren’t work-related. Spend time outside, work on your favorite hobbies, grab dinner with friends. Do whatever it is that makes you feel like a person and makes you happy. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so fill your cup first so you can give freely to others.
Create a workplace where employees feel safe discussing mental health issues. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues don’t have to be taboo in the office. Offer resources to your employees in case they need someone to talk to about their stresses. And take the help yourself! Talking with a professional is a proactive step you can take to stay in control of your fears, thought patterns, attitudes, and habits. There’s nothing shameful about talking to an expert about your feelings. It’s beneficial!
The countless roles and responsibilities of a project manager will undoubtedly lead to some stressful situations in business. Being proactive in reducing stress and putting systems in place to manage it effectively will help you be a stronger leader. It will also help your team spend more time working towards their goals and less time stressing out about it.