Thursday, 11 April 2013


I come across as calm and composed, for the majority of the time to many people .  People often ask me how I remain calm in certain situations or when people are stressed around me.   In an interview once, I was asked "How do you cope in stressful situations".  I will attempt to answer these statements and questions in this article.

I rarely get stressed.  I get stressed over personal issues and when my loved ones are upset, but this infrequently happens.  Even on a rugby or hockey pitch, I never get that "do-or-die" attitude to winning, but would rather have played well myself than to have won the game.  I get upset if I do not perform, but do not get upset if the better team has won, as long as I did my best.  I am very upset when I do not have a good game, even if we win.

I carry this same attitude into the workplace.  I will try as hard as I can in every situation and sometimes I will win and sometime I will lose.  Some projects are completed on time and/or within budget and some just are not.  As long as I did everything possible to achieve the best result, I am happy.  However, if I see someone within the work environment not working as hard as they can, then I get annoyed.  I do not expect people to work long hours, but when they are at work, I expect the best results that they can produce. 

If someone is working until 8pm every night, something is wrong with the resourcing of the project they are working on.  I know people like to work long hours to impress the boss, but I am a contractor and have never had the inclination to need to impress the boss with extended hours.  If you want to impress your management, work to the best of your ability in the timeframe you have.  I always feel that people working late are potentially taking someone else's job. 

I started this article discussing stress.  To me stress is all about Time.  I do not know of any situation where time is not the factor for stress.  If you are stressed about money, then add 10 years to the repayment and this will reduce your stress.  If you are stressed about a deadline, extend the deadline and the stress will disappear.  If you are stressed about time and the deadline cannot be moved, then consider the reasons why it cannot be moved and consider the cost implications of not moving the date.  If possible, double up on
resources to increase the time spent on development which in turn will reduce the time elapsed.

One way or another, people get stressed on a daily basis for the wrong reasons.  I am not a laid back, lazy Project Manager, but one that looks at options and considers three solutions to all problems.  This comes back to my development days and my original mentor's mantra, which I live by on a day to day basis, as discussed in a previous post.

In summary, my take on stress is all time related.  Add time, and you will reduce your stress.

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