Handle Project Manager Stress like a Pro

Effective project management requires epic organizational skills, fantastic communication skills, the ability to predict the future, a knack for performing well under pressure, the skill of never having a bad day topped with the patience of Mother Theresa. Needless to say, being an effective project manager can really be a stressful endeavor. Stress can not only negatively affect your performance, it can also have a negative impact on your health, wellbeing, and family life. You can’t change the amount of stress you have on a daily basis, but you can change how you cope with it.

It’s all in the attitude

As a busy project manager, you have to always maintain a positive attitude. See adverse events as opportunities, always look on the bright side and choose to focus on the strengths of those around you rather than their weaknesses. As a project manager, when you focus on your assets and strengths, you see opportunities. When you focus on the shortcomings of your company and team, all you will see are problems. Having a positive attitude helps to create a positive work environment and it helps you to reduce the amount of negativity and stress you feel.

Don’t wait… meditate

Just ten minutes of meditation a day helps you to stay focused on the tasks at hand. Meditation calms you down and helps you to gain perspective. Physiologically, meditation helps to improve brain functioning and makes you feel less fatigued.

Book your vacation today

As a project manager, you know how important down time is. Book your vacation time at the beginning of the year so that you have something to look forward to. Your vacation time should be non-negotiable or it will soon be shifted and eventually postponed to a time when you are less busy. Project managers are always busy, so there isn’t a good time to take a holiday. Instead, book your time off and stick to it so that you have regular breaks that will see you rested and inspired.

Get moving

There is little else that helps to relive stress as effectively as breaking a sweat. Sure, as a project manager with a stressful job you are probably thinking that you just don’t have the time. But that’s not true! 40 minutes to an hour of cardiovascular exercise three or four times a week is just what the doctor ordered. You don’t have to be miserable on the treadmill at the gym; find something you really love doing instead.

Try tango dancing or ballet, take walks around your neighborhood with your family, ride your bike to work or play tennis with your friends. When you do exercise you enjoy, you are more likely to stick to it.

Ten minute project manager dance party

This is a concept that was famously introduced among writers of the hit TV show Saturday Night Live. Ten minutes of movement and music is actually a really great way to take a break. Movement is linked to an increase in brain function and a release of hormones that reduce stress.

As a project manager, you may not feel like a ten minute dance party is right for your office environment, but taking a walk outside or doing some office exercises can be just the ticket to a quick-fit stress relief in the middle of your day.


One of the biggest causes of fatigue in the office is poor indoor air quality. Be everyone’s favorite project manager by introducing plants to your office. The presence of office plants reduces stress, adds to your décor and improves the quality of your indoor air. Breathing deeply helps to relieve stress and it’s a great idea to take some breaths when you are feeling stressed. Sit at your desk with a straight back. Use your abdominal muscles to push out your stomach so that you are breathing with your diaphragm and not just your lungs.

Positive reinforcement

Project managers have so much on their plates, it’s sometimes hard to remember to stop and smell the roses. Expressing gratitude lowers your blood pressure and helps to reduce your stress levels. One of your jobs as a project manager is to provide positive reinforcement for your team. Start each day with a phone call or email that expresses appreciation or pays a compliment to a coworker or client. You will make their day.

Project managers are subjected to extraordinarily high volumes of stress on a daily basis. You need to take care of yourself and your team in order to do your job effectively. A successful project manager is a calm project manager.