I don't know about the rest, but I find that the work lifestyle in a corporation today oozes stress, especially in organizations that apportion responsibility - but not necessarily authority!

I have attended a few stress management/ elimination courses in my time which have been useful - many following the format, but ultimately not really transferable to the real day to day corporate world.

Is there a plan for a Podcast on management stress?


Love the casts.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


But it's not what you might expect.

1. Start by going home on time.

2. Get fired - it will change your "stress life" for the better in the long run.

(Okay, partly kidding.)


WGW's picture

I think that any stress that is work-generated can be obviated, but attempting to regulate non-work stress (such as ill or malfeasant family members, personal health problems, et cetera) is a non-starter.

Within the stress that is controllable, however, I'm still trying to find ways of regulating it consistently. Going for short walks, listening to music, and reclining in your office chair help, as does adjusting your posture periodically, and spending some time inhaling. Circular breathing, where you inhale for X seconds, hold for X seconds, exhale for X seconds, and hold for another X seconds, then repeat (where X<5 for safety reasons) can also be exhausting, but is difficult when fatigued and impossible when you have a cold. A good application for it is while waiting to disembark a parked airliner (for me, the only stressful part of flying, aside from check-in, security and baggage claim).

Keeping your office clean and organized will also help to eliminate at least 50% of stress, I've found. Most of the hair-pulling moments I've experienced have resulted from being unable to find something that dissappeared into the clutter. People usually get their offices disorganized either because they're too engrossed in what they're doing to care, or their stress level is already elevated, but just remember, any time or stress you might save in the short term by letting things slide you'll definitely have to pay back in spades over the longer term.

After experiencing a controllable stress incident (bad phone conversation with boss/client/coworker, missing document, computer glitch, application software usage problems, failed creativity), it's best to use the aforementioned methods, or others that work for you. I do not reccommend surfing the internet as a stress-relief tool, and I[i] especially [/i]do not reccommend surfing internet news websites as a stress-relief tool. You will find your stress only increases, and will continue to increase for as long as you browse the above websites, until you stop and do something else.

For really extreme work-related stress, if your schedule permits it, leave work, go home, lie down, and so something non-work related with your family. Of course, I recognize that in all probability 99% of those who read this post don't have that option.

indiana's picture

I imagine the purpose of the all the MT podcasts are to make you do a good job, eliminating the stress you might get from trying to squeeze 25 hours into a day.... that said, I would find it useful to have a [b]'stress buster starter toolkit'[/b].

Many people I know- and sometimes myself included- are just swamped and would benefit from basic info on getting their work lives sorted out. I don't mean stress symptom reduction- like to listen to whale music, or have plants in your office- I mean practical plans to get out from under a deluge or work and steps to stop falling under again.

mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge


If you haven't read David Allen's "Getting Things Done". It's a very practical approach to eliminating the overwhelm you speak of ... Mark and I are both HUGE fans.


AManagerTool's picture

I'm waiting for the book..."Sticking to ... Getting things Done"

That's the one I really need!!!


mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge

Ha! THAT would be a best seller!

naraa's picture
Training Badge

This thread on stress is an old one, but nevertheless a current topic.  I was surprised not to see more discussion topics on stress.  I just saw the National Geographic Documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer and I thought it was very thought provoking.   Has anyone seen it and can share what they think of it?  

I was already aware of the impact a manager can have on his/her directs professional career but the documentary also analyses the impact a manager has on one´s directs health! Quite scary to comprehend the full scale of the responsibility one has in one´s hand when managing people!  

I had already heard the saying that the more in control one is of the situation, the less the stress level.  But I had never seen the research that lead to that conclusion, as presented on the documentary.  

I know one of manager-tools laws is "control is an illusion", but that illusion can save ones life, or at least keep one healthy!  I always considered myself to be a kind person.... looking back though, perhaps not kind enough, and I certainly wished I had known this research before.  I would have made a double effort to give more feedback and positive reassurance and to have allowed for greater feeling of participation in the decisions from my directs earlier!

GlennR's picture

Thanks for the link, Naraa. I'll take a look at it at home.

I have mentioned in other threads that I've taken the Dale Carnegie human relations course based on several of his books including "How To Win Friends & Influence People." The greatest benefit I received from taking the course was in how to control stress.

Briefly, it boils down to the fact that the human mind cannot do two conscious things at once. You can either worry, OR you can do something about it.

Let's say you wake up at 3AM worrying about that project that's overdue. You can lay there and stew in your own juices or you can get up, go find a pen and paper and sit down and write down your next three steps to solve that problem.

Not in control of the situation? Dale has more than a dozen principles dealing with stress. They have been very helpful to me when I have employed them. They don't always eliminate the stress, but they reduce it enough so that I can cram it into a small closet in my mind and slam the door shut.

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 Hi Glenn,

That is actually not too different from what I have learned in meditation which is one mind/one action or get your mind to where your action is, but the other way around, put your action to where your mind is. 

I think not knowing I actually used to do the put my action where my mind was, and I was fine until I had kids!  Then it didn´t work anymore, as I couldn´t just leave the kids and go do the work stuff that was in my mind!  And the other way around was even worse, be at work when my mind wanted to be with the kids!  Wow, maybe that is why it is so hard to do both!

I will search on Dale Carnegie courses and other principles to learn to slam the door shut when needed!

Thanks for the reply.




GlennR's picture

Been there, done that with kids, Naraa:-) Ratchets the stress level up by a factor of 100 or so,doesn't it. Then, of course, there's the stress of the mythical work-life balance thrown in. As a new parent, I was discussing this (probably complaining, actually) with a co-worker who had older children. She told me, "Balancing the needs of your career and your family is like walking down the edge of a giant razor blade. No matter which way you lean, or how much progress you make, you're still going to get bloody."

Strangely, I took comfort in that and pretty much stopped worrying about it. It helps that my organization's culture is very supportive. But I well recall having to take a day or two off from work many times because I had more PTO time than my wife when one of the little ones had an ear infection or fever. That caused stress, but you know what. Looking back on it years later, I cannot point to a time when staying home negatively impacted my performance objectives. I still do this with my youngest, a high school aged teen. But now, thanks to technology, I can work from home and not miss a beat. Teens are much lower maintenance than infants or toddlers when they're sick.

Now, if I'm on family time and I have a sudden inspiration, influenced by GTD and using Evernote, I just dump it into a voice note. When I don't do that and later try to recall what my idea was, THEN I get stressed:-)

I think if you asked any 80-year old he or she would tell us that most of the things we worry about never come to pass or are only one-tenth as important as we think they are at the time.