All project managers undoubtedly go through stressful projects. Thus, it is always good to know when things are getting out of hand, and what you can do to eliminate unnecessary stress.

Soma Bhattacharya is an Agile Transformation Consultant at Xebia in Hyderabad, India. With years of experience in project management, Soma admits that she was majorly stressed not long ago. However, she learned to handle it. Below, she shares what she learned and provides some tips project managers can use to lighten up the stress load.

Handling Stress in a Project Environment

By Soma Bhattacharya

Dr. Flannes is the principal of Flannes Associates and the co-author of Essential People Skills for Project Managers. In his interview with Samad Aidane talks about how under chronic stress, performance of project managers decreases. This is all because body never comes to a resting point and as it turns out IQ points drop when in stress.

Every project manager has to go through stress in trying to get the project to turn out successfully, handle tough team members and get the project done. And it isn’t easy.

The team environment matters a lot, so it’s always advisable that every project manager, especially new ones, should be more careful and cautious of the stress.

Here are a few ways to know that you are getting into the stress zone:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Snapping at friends or colleagues
  • Nightmares, sleep disturbances


Not long ago, when I was stressed out and was pacing up and down trying to calm myself down, one of my colleague and friend just asked: What was my plan for the next year? I just said a few things and he asked again: Was being so stressed out and worried part of it? I just stopped in my tracks, he was right. I was stressing out myself sick when I didn’t have to, it was just a small part of my job.

Looking at the bigger picture sometimes helps. What also helps is the fact that you know how to calm down when worried sick:

Create a friendly environment in office or at home
Keep favorite pictures and use visual and audio mediums to keep the nerves calm.

Keep positive people around
Have friends you can talk to, whoever brings in positive influence keep them around.

Say no more often
When you can’t handle more work or the stress just say no. Don’t try to please everyone, because you never can.

Manage your time better
You can do so much in 24 hours, when you are taking too much, it’s time to manage it well and delegate more.

Make peace with yourself
Being competitive is fine, however being a thorough professional also means you know when to draw the line. Give yourself time, take short vacations and laugh at yourself.

Stress is what you make of situations. So the best thing is to ensure you are aware and careful when it hits you. Take care of yourself and your team members and with better stress management, success isn’t far.

Soma Bhattacharya
Agile Transformation Consultant, Xebia

Twitter: @Soma_b

If you have a story about lessons you have learned from working in project management, please share them with me! Send your stories to kim[at]onedesk[dot]com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>