Avoiding Project Manager Burnout

Project plans, Gantt charts and risk registers, oh my! The demand for faster, cheaper and better delivery of projects can lead even the most experienced project managers to burnout. But there are ways to manage and even prevent burnout before it happens. Here are four ideas to do just that.

Walk
photo credit: Todd Huffman via Flickr

1. Take a Hike!

No, literally. Get up from your desk and walk away. Exercise is proven to elevate mood and relieve anxiety. So take a minimum 15 minute break and walk around your building, outside, in the hallway, wherever you feasibly can. You may not think you can afford a 15 minute break to go for a walk, but you’ll be more productive and less stressed after your walk. Think of it as physical and mental self-maintenance to ensure your future productive capacity.

2. Just Breathe

Want to reduce your stress levels quickly? Breathing techniques can do this for you. The nice thing about breathing techniques is that you can do them anywhere and most anytime. Several medical experts have recommended breathing exercises to reduce your stress levels. Here is a quick video on how to conduct breathing exercises at your desk:

3. Eat Well

Don’t brush this one off. What you eat can have a significant impact on your energy and stress levels. A “poor diet” can result in mood swings, fatigue and poor concentration just to name a few. A healthy diet can provide you with the sustained energy a busy PM requires. I personally find that eating a salad with some protein for lunch gives me all the energy I need for the afternoon, without the necessity for caffeine.

4. Say Ommmm

You’ve heard this before no doubt: meditation can be a great stress reliever. When I was younger I couldn’t see myself ever meditating. I gave it a try though and I’m sure glad I did. The calmness and balance felt after several minutes of meditation is astounding. You can also combine meditation with walking for an added benefit.

If you have any other recommendation for short term stress relief and prevention to avoid project manager burnout, please share them in the comments section.  Thanks.

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