Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Keep Calm and Manage the Project: Tips on PM Stress Relief

Everything that comes with a career in project management - the lack of predictability, the creation of brand new solutions, working within a strict system - is a source of stress and frustration. Recently, economic models of production and delivery have contributed drastically increase the stress in the project management.
According to Flannes & Associates, here are five key skills that will help you reduce stress when it comes to managing your projects.

Detach yourself - To use detachment or dissociation, allow yourself to mentally “check out” of the meeting as much as is appropriate, letting your mind wander to a more pleasant image.

Monitor “what if?” thinking - In the middle of a stressful event, it is natural to engage in “what if thinking,” which involves a focus that is not present oriented. An alternative to this form of thinking is to focus in the present, such as posing this question to yourself.  For instance, “It’s Thursday at 3:17 PM, I’ve just received bad news about the project. What can I do in the next hour to take a small step towards improving the situation?”

Develop conflict resolution skills - We add stress to our work lives by under reacting or over reacting to the stressful situation. Both approaches increase our stress.  So, take some time to really develop balanced conflict resolution skills that are manageable for day-to-day issues.

Know when enough is enough - A natural, yet unproductive approach to resolve a stressful situation is to debate another person about your point of view. This does not mean you should not assert your belief, but you should know when to stop once you’ve gotten your point across.

Look for a paradox - In the midst of a stressful situation, we often take the situation too seriously. Psychologists would say that we are engaging in “catastrophizing” behavior, in which we take a negative event cognitively “run with it,” and then find ourselves believing, for example, that the entire project is probably doomed because of this one problem. So, find a paradoxical thought that you can hold onto, something that will put your stress in perspective.  
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