“Do you have a minute?” Your colleague is standing beside your desk. “I have a quick question” she says. You were deeply concentrated, working on a project with an upcoming deadline, which requires all your attention.
Now two things can happen. You may either say YES or NO.
Yes or No?
Let’s take a look what happens when you say YES. Your colleague starts talking. You think about possible solutions and totally forget about your project. She is happy. And you? You are feeling frustrated and stressed, as at the end of the day, this project is still on your action list.
Now what happens when you say NO? I’m not talking about a blunt, rude NO. There are very polite ways to let the other person know that you are working on something else right now. You will have time in an hour.
Getting your work done in a pleasant way without a lot of stress requires a great deal of personal leadership. Are you the armored knight rescuing others all the time, forgetting about your own priorities? Or will you give them a chance for self-development?
7 Tips for less stress for managers
My 7 tips for less stress at work for managers are:
- Don’t be harsh to yourself. I do realize it is easy said, not always easy done. Good quality is great, but being too perfectionistic is the number one reason for stress. Investigate why it is so difficult to let go. Experiment with little things first.
- Build a great team. A great team delivers great results. Teach them to take responsibility, using their talents by promoting a continuous learning environment. This requires your dedication and openness. A great team will be a great backup. You don’t have to do everything yourself.
- This is really practical, but it works. Create time blocks in your agenda for undisturbed work. Preferably do this at the start of your working day. Let your team know this is your new working style (and promote them to do the same). It may feel a little awkward at first, but you will get quickly used to it.
- Decide on 3 things to get done that day. It forces you to focus and to work on the really important stuff. A long to-do list is meant to be a failure, leaving you with tons of frustration at the end of the day.
- Ask yourself “What is my desired outcome?” before starting any action or meeting. You will never participate in a meeting anymore, not knowing what you would like to achieve. It can be a decision, a request for information, sharing, etc.
- Is it unclear what to do, or what others are expecting? Ask questions. Clarity allows you to focus, using your energy on the most efficient way
- For some reason we tend to go on and on. It looks like you are working all the time, but in reality you are sabotaging yourself. Take regular breaks. Your energy levels go up and down during the day. Allow yourself to recharge your battery. You will be able to think more quickly and it literally requires less energy.
Don’t try all 7 tips all the same time. Choose one, experience how it works for you before choosing the next one. Still experiencing stress? Consider working with a professional you trust. It may be difficult breaking through old patterns.
My favorite tip is #7. I’ll be taking a few minutes off to relax before starting with the next activity of today.
Which tip works best for you? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I’d love to know!
PS You may have noticed I am writing a lot about stress management and productivity lately. Stress is the number one reason why managers are not meeting their targets. First manage your stress, then deliver your results!