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Minimising Stress in Management



I have been here especially when I started out in management. I thought I had to do it all, tell people what to do and be serious all the time. This caused a great deal of stress for me. With time, experience, and good mentors I have learned how to nip stress in the bud. Now I want to share my top tips for minimising stress in management.

Create a To do list

Sometimes we find that we have so much to do we have no idea where to start. Why not create a to-do-list? I think to-do-lists are a great way of creating a snapshot of everything that needs to be done. Doing a list will also help you to look at what you want to prioritise, the length of time it may take to do each task and, also who you could delegate it to. I swear by this and so do others.


Manage your time

This follows on from to-do-lists. If the list helps you to look at what needs to be done, it could also help you look at the time it takes to do what you need to do. One of the things I find useful is blocking time out particularly if I have to write a report or work with data. If you can schedule times for meetings you can certainly schedule time for yourself to complete tasks. If you work for an organisation and have an office shut the door and put a do not disturb sign on it. If you work in an open plan office put a flag or something else on your desk and let people know that you do not want to be disturbed. If people need to get a message to you they can either do it by email or post-it notes. Think of the most effective way for you.


If you get invited to lots of meetings have a really good look at the meetings. Do you need to go to everyone that you are invited to? It is alright to send apologies particularly if you are up to your eyes in it.



If you know how to do this you are half way to minimising your stress. Look at who is competent in your team and give the work to them. It will also help them to grow professionally.


I have come across people who insist that they need to do everything. These are the same people who are stressed because they hold everything to their chests and don’t share the work. They are also the people who have problems with team members because they are not doing enough to help them grow.


Managers who are less stressed are those who recognise the skill set in their teams and trust those team members to do their jobs. A manager who delegates well can get on and think about other things such as creating efficiency, growing a business or just taking a break.


Think positively

“It’s easy for you to say”, is usually the response I get when I utter those words, but it is true. Thinking more positively about yourself and what you are doing can help to minimise stress. Think about all of the things you enjoy about your role, your team or your organisation. If you can’t think anything positive about those things, think about what you would like to happen then make it happen. Also think about what is positive in your life. How positive are your relationships with friends or family?  What about the environment you live in? Some people I’ve worked with have either repeated an inspiring mantra to themselves before they leave home, or put them up around the home or on their desks. This usually helps them to feel increasingly positive.


Be around positive people

These people are like gold dust and have the fantastic gift of instantly lifting you from stress and negativity. It might be their personality or it may even be something they say. I usually find that people who are really positive have probably been through the same sort of stress as you and made it through to the other side. I can certainly relate to that. If you speak to an experienced manager about the things that may be stressing you I can bet they have been through something similar or worse.


Have a sense of humour

I find that having a good laugh helps to minimise stress. I’m not asking you to pull pranks or become a practical joker. Instead of freaking out in front of your team find something witty to say and then if you want go into a room, by yourself, and cry, shout, laugh or whatever it is you feel comfortable with.


Have some you time

Have some time out because you need it. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, treat yourself to a stroll to the nearest park and eat there. The work will still be there when you get back and besides, everyone is entitled to a lunch break. If you don’t have a nearby park get to know the area, find out where you can eat and go there.


When you finish work turn that phone off. Do you get paid extra to work after hours? You are not the 4th emergency service so when you go home go home. Leave work exactly where it is, at work.


If you need a break take one. How about that long weekend break you’ve always wanted? Leave the laptop and phone at home, don’t even look at emails. Be good to yourself and reward yourself with some time out. 


Get it off your chest

Is there someone at work or externally you could talk to about your work? If you have a supportive line manger grab some time with them and discuss your issue(s). You don’t always have to wait until a scheduled meeting to do this. The sooner you discuss the thing that is causing you stress the sooner it will be minimised. If your line manager is unavailable it might be worth investing in a coach. Coaches are being used more by individuals and organisations because they are impartial and concentrate on the individual.


Take up an exercise/hobby

I find that this really helps. For me, yoga or a 30 minute jog does wonders. However, you may want to find something that suits you. For example I was racking my brain over how I was going to design one of my worksheets and I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to do it. I drew, then scrubbed out, drew again then scrubbed out. Anyway I left the office and went for a run and voila! At the end of my run an idea just came to me. Others have told me that when they are around other people, say in a class, the light bulb switches on for them. Again, do what works for you.



It is said that the average person needs at least 7-8 hours a night of sleep. When it is time to sleep, go to sleep. The more you sleep the more alert you will be and the less you sleep the less happy. If you feel on edge before bed time find something relaxing to do such as reading a book or having a candlelit bubble bath. If you have a partner or live with someone you could possibly talk to them about the thing(s) that may be stressing you out. Remember a problem shared is a problem halved.


If you want to have a go at minimising stress as a manager email me for a worksheet.




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