Are you considering a career as a project manager, but aren’t sure you can handle the high levels of stress it apparently comes with? Or maybe you’re a project manager dealing with a lot of stress, looking for ways to manage it better.
Any job where you’re leading and managing will inherently come with an element of stress, but why does project management, in particular, have such a reputation for it?
What makes project management stressful?
Various factors contribute to the stressfulness of being a project manager. First of all, you’re constantly working towards deadlines. So, there’s always the pressure of a looming deadline that you have to work towards. This can produce a stressful environment even if everything is running perfectly. But the unfortunate news is that things are unlikely to run smoothly all of the time.
And this is where another facet of stress comes in. You’re likely to hit roadblocks throughout the completion of a project. An employee is out sick for a week, a supplier goes out of business, or the internet stops working in your office for a couple of days. All of these things can derail a project and cause you to miss your deadline. As the project manager, you’re responsible for coming up with solutions to get the project back on track.
Another contributor to stress is having to work with and manage people. While many project managers love this aspect of the job, dealing with people can also be stressful. There may be members of your team that you don’t get along with or that push back against your authority. Other managers might struggle with the idea of telling people what to do all the time. People can also be unpredictable, which is why your interactions with them can cause stress.
How to make project management less stressful
You can’t eliminate the stress from project management, but you can certainly lessen it and learn how to handle it more effectively. Here are a few tips for making project management less stressful.
Prepare for the unexpected
As a project manager, you shouldn’t just expect the unexpected, but also prepare for its arrival. Things going wrong is probably the biggest cause of stress when managing a project because it ramps up the pressure. But if you have backup plans in place for when things do go wrong, then you can deescalate the situation and get back on track as soon as possible, helping to minimize the stress.
So, what if you run out of budget? What if a team member breaks a leg? Or what if your client suddenly changes the deadline? Have contingency plans in place for scenarios like these so that you can think quickly and adapt effectively if they do occur.
You’ll make your role even more stressful if you try to take on too much at once. Knowing how to delegate effectively to the rest of your team will help to balance the workload and get more done in time for the deadline, placing less of the pressure on your shoulders.
Use the right tools
There are lots of tools and apps available that make planning and managing projects easier, helping them to run more smoothly. When you can have all your tasks, team members, and even clients and vendors in one place, it will be much easier and less stressful to keep track of the progress of your project and what needs to be done next.
LogicalPlan is the perfect tool for making project management a less stressful job.
When stress is inevitable, how we respond to it makes a big difference. It’s important that you know the best ways to de-stress at the end of the day. For one person, this might mean meditating or going for a walk. Another person might destress by watching television or reading a book. Figure out what works for you when it comes to relaxing and de-stressing.
Also, try not to take work home with you. It may be difficult to stop thinking about the job when you’re working toward a tight deadline, but it’s important for your sanity and mental health that you let go of it for long enough to let yourself relax.
What are your best tips for handling the stress of project management? Let us know in the comments below!