Helping Your Overwhelmed, Stressed-Out Team to Not Be Overwhelmed and Stressed-Out

How is the health of your staff team?  Of your volunteers?  How's your personal health as a leader?

The Harvard Business Review just published an article that has some tips for helping you and your team be less 'overwhelmed'.  See if any of these might help you...


Helping Your Overwhelmed, Stressed-Out Team to Not Be Overwhelmed and Stressed-Out

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  • Research shows that memory, attention, and concentration suffer when people try to constantly manage a huge stream of communication.  One way to manage this problem according to one productivity expert:  "Never Check Email in the Morning".  OK... I can't do this; and I think this is most impractical for most all of us... but I DO use a chrome gmail extension called Inbox Pause, that only delivers my email 3x daily (8:30 a.m.; Noon; and 4:30 pm).  This has been HUGE in helping me be less distracted and on-task.  And even if I cheat and check email at other times, it's proactive rather than re-active on my part.
  • A second tip:  Evaluate each project you give your staff (or you take on yourself) to see if it is in your 'sweet spot'.  According to HBR: "It's the manager's responsibility to develop an action plan that allows everyone to be more productive and to insulate their teams from low-priority work that may trickle down from senior management."  In other words, make sure you and your staff are doing only the important things.  I remember being told at one church "we ALL have parts of our job we don't like"; and to a certain extent this is true... but if you or your staff are constantly doing things outside of their sweet spot, it is easy to become overwhelmed.
  • Schedule uninterrupted work.  According to one expert, it takes at least 20 minutes to refocus on the task at hand after a distraction.  HBR suggests that you and your team set aside an hour or more each morning for quiet, proactive work.  (See tip #1, I guess).  🙂
  • And finally... 'fix your meetings'.  One expert says that meetings can be a huge waste of time and that every meeting should include standing agenda items to allow for productive discussions and decision making about the team's core assignments.  Rules:  No more than three objectives per meeting; set the duration of the meeting beforehand, and use the last 15 minutes to clarify how each person will move forward and implement what was discussed.  Also:  never have a meeting when an email or memo can suffice.  (Some churches are 'meeting happy'... what a waste of time).

These are just some of the ideas... This article is well worth checking out if you're interested in finding ways to cut the superfluous junk out of your (and your team's) week.

Read more here at the Harvard Business Review


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