Many project management professionals lead stress-filled lives, work long hours on projects and still keep home and family together using their project management skills.
Most workers respond to rising demands in their workplace by working longer hours, pushing themselves to get things done, and then feel exhausted, even guilty. They can end up dissatisfied with their lives, which diminishes their overall effectiveness.
Our capacity to work comes not just from our body, but from our emotions and our spirit. Things we cherish energize us. Our work routines provide structure and comfort.
Leverage Your Energy
Our goals, when achieved, refill our motivational reserves. The following project management practices reflect how you can use your energy:
- Prioritize your tasks and obligations and complete them using your values, not what others expect.
- Give yourself deadlines for the most important tasks; use the less important tasks to fill the time in between.
- Manage your wakefulness; do tasks that require minimal attention when tired. Leave critical tasks for the morning or a time when you are more alert.
- Reward yourself with tasks or actions you value and enjoy.
- Develop rituals that refresh you (classics include: exercise, social activity, quality time with family).
- Allow adequate time for sleep.
Focus on the task at hand. Maintain positive rituals to maximize full energy revival. You can manage the risk of exhausting your energy and motivation by making sure every day includes tasks and activities that refresh you.
View Your Workplace in a Positive Light
A project manager cannot expect to lead a team in a stressful and changing work environment if she/he starts the workday deflated and exhausted. People associate a “good day” with success. If your co-workers and team sense you are not energized, they will assume you are not successful.
Personal and team energy boosters include:
- Enthusiasm. When the project hiccups or stalls you can encourage your team and yourself by highlighting project successes and strengths of individual team members.
- Vision. Creating a shared vision helps sustain the direction and input to a project by encouraging you – the manager – and your team to evaluate your roles and increase performance.
- Managing personal relations. Create a healthy balance to cope with work politics and other stress. Create support systems outside of work and within the project group to help members and you to cope with the changing environment.
- Collaboration. Creating a strong environment for group discussion and establishing your role as team director provides a support system for group members and reinforces your role and purpose as manager.
Managers are familiar with these project constraints: complex group communication (sometimes due to the diversity of group members), differing worker skill levels, and limited time and money. These pressures can add a new dynamic of stress for you, the manager.
To keep up your morale and fulfill your role as leader, you must recharge your energy and motivation for both yourself and those you lead. Balance work with family. Utilize the above tips to maximize energy. Creating a more balanced self allows you to build a positive mental and emotional environment for project success.
Although our work culture appears to value overwork and long hours, don’t be fooled. The professional culture values work results, and getting results requires managing your own energy resources, and the energy of your team, wisely.
by Helen S. Cooke