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Control Stress – or it will control you | Video

Control Stress - or it will control you | Video

If you don’t control stress… It will control you

Stress is an important topic for Project Managers. And, then I think about my own biggest Project Management failure… It revolved around stress and a lack of resilience.

And I got an email from someone who said:

‘I need help. My day should have 48 hours. And the stress at work is so high that I cannot think clearly. I am doing too much. I get done half of the tasks and end up exhausted.’

Sound familiar?

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This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

If you’re Stressed, Your First Priority is to Get a Break.

At least a full, relaxing weekend, with plenty of sleep, time with family or friends, and good quality food.

Your next step, I said, is to re-design your time away from work, to prioritize:

  • Good quality sleep each night
  • At least one meal of good quality food eaten slowly each day
  • Some exercise – daily if you can but 3-4 times per week at least

This will start to bring back some emotional and mental reserves. With these, you can properly assess your work situation.

Then, you need to determine whether you are either:

  1. Overloaded (genuinely too much work) or
  2. Overwhelmed (feeling stressed and unable to cope).


If you are genuinely overloaded, you need to book time with your boss/project director. The solutions to discuss include:

  • Getting support
  • Reducing workload
  • Accepting a lower standard on non-critical items
  • Finding quicker ways to work

A composite solution, with a little bit of change on each of these, can add up. If you can make a 20% improvement on each of these fronts, you can double your effectiveness, and control your stress.

My Biggest Project Failure

Without a doubt, it was a melt-down because I was too stressed to get a proper perspective on events. A good night’s sleep and some time to reflect were enough for me, then.


Another few days of late nights, poor food, and zero me-time, and the same trigger could have had a far greater impact.

So, after that event, I made a decision. I spent time studying and learning about stress and resilience. I had to control stress.


It may seem odd to you because you know me as a Project Management expert. But my best selling book is not about Project Management at all. It is Brilliant Stress Management – now in its second edition, as How to Manage Stress.


Do this today: survey your own stress levels. And think about what you do to build mental, physical, and emotional resilience. It may not be a problem today (I hope). But it is never to soon to change your habits to protect you.

And, if it’s stress in your team that worries you, please do take a look at my article, How to Spot and Deal with Stress in Your Team.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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