We manage our people, we manage client expectations and we manage our finances.  And then there’s email management, biz dev management and a host of other things that are under our watch.  But all of that focus on making sure that everything is running like clockwork can also jack up our stress.  That stress shows up in a lot of little ways:


  • We are short tempered with our team, family and friends
  • We feel like we can never let up or wind down
  • We miss deadlines (internal or external)
  • We fall behind, putting incredible pressure on our teams to cover our rear ends
  • We are distracted when we’re with our family and friends
  • We  feel our jaw clenching, our head pounding, or our back knotting up


Our “normal” work day is to run around and put out fires all day.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have ever had a work day that played out exactly how I thought it was going to when I woke up that morning.  We have chosen to live in chaos.  And sometimes, we even like it.  But like it or not — it’s our reality.


And that’s before you add in our personal life and the challenges that sometimes come from that side of the equation.


The truth is — we can’t escape stress.  They say, in moderate doses, it’s actually good for us.  But left unchecked, it can diminish our effectiveness and we bring a less than ideal version of ourselves to work and home.   And we all know — there are some serious physical/health consequences to boot.


To survive that reality, we need coping mechanisms.  Yes, I know for many of you, it’s that first glass of wine in the evening! But I’m going to suggest that for most of us it needs to be something bigger.  Something scheduled.  Something that releases the tension and rejuvenates you to boot.


Here’s the kicker — you have to put it on your calendar.  Whether you do it (whatever your it is) before or after hours, on the weekend or during the work week — if it isn’t on your calendar, it is not going to happen.


I think most of us suck at this.  We know what we should do or stop doing.  But we don’t.  We think things will slow down, get better, more organized or whatever.  But the truth is — that’s not how it works.


Please pull your calendar out right now and schedule your stress relief.  For this week.  The rest of the year.  I want you to be around, to be productive, happy and to be capable of bringing the best version of you to your team, clients, partners, family and friends.


This was originally published in the weekly AMI newsletter.  To subscribe, click here.