Every project causes stress. It’s part of the challenge. But it’s easy to become obsessed about the small details, the milestones, the timeline and forget about the people. If your team is too stressed, they won’t perform at their best, and your project will be at risk.
Need a simple solution? Try this one, in a message I sent to the Victoria Derbyshire programme launch team on Happiness Day 2015, two weeks before launch, with tension rising …….
20 March 2015
SUBJECT: Happy Happiness Day
I’ve seen a lot of tired faces over the last week, and heard a lot of people saying “I’m really worried about ….”, “….. has been keeping me awake at night”, “I am so stressed about ….”
These last two weeks before launch will be tough and they will be scary because there are a lot of things still to do, and some things will go wrong. And that is exactly what we want because we will be pushing the boundaries because we want to know where the boundaries are. And this is how every programme that was ever launched has been – the last few weeks are incredibly full-on.
So it’s really important that you all look after yourselves. Make sure that, when you are not at work, you manage to relax. Make sure you get enough sleep. Don’t worry about things you have no control over. And if (when!) the stress starts to get the better of you, recognise it (we are all human) and I recommend doing four things (you too Louisa and Barry!!):
- Stop and walk away.
- Smile at yourself in the mirror (trust me – it works).
- Breathe deeply, slowly and rhythmically for at least 2 minutes (scientifically proven to reduce stress – if you’re interested watch this TED talk by Dr. Alan Watkins).
- Listen to whatever music will help you relax or release a wave of positive emotions. I usually find Bob Marley ensures I don’t worry. [If music is not your thing try chocolate or something utterly delicious, exercise, lavender scent, etc. etc.]
What we really need is calm hearts and cool minds. Trust me, everything will be alright on the morning: We’ve got the most amazing galaxy of talent all pulling together.
We will only launch this great programme once, so make sure you really enjoy it.
Sam Whipple , BBC News Change Coordinator