How to reduce stress when completing a project 

 January 6, 2023

Written by Yemisi Iyilade, Project Management Consultant, Scientist & Innovation Expert.

Feeling overwhelmed with a project you have to complete and wondering how to reduce stress and feel better?

Completing a project can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. No one enjoys feeling stressed out, and yet it’s something that many of us face on a daily basis. Whether it’s at work or at home, stress can be incredibly overwhelming and debilitating.

As a project leader, it is important for you to figure out ways to reduce the amount of stress you feel while working within the timeframe of your project.

In this blog post, I share some tips that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me reduce my stress levels.

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Stress When Working On A Project

Projects can often be stressful and difficult, especially when you are the project leader. There is a lot of pressure to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that the project is completed on time and within budget.

With the right strategies and tips, it is possible to reduce stress levels while completing your projects. Learning and using these tips can not only reduce anxiety but also enable you to take charge of any demanding situation.

Here are seven proven tips to help you manage stress in both your personal and professional life.

1) Create and follow a plan for success.

When it comes to success, planning is key. Take the time to outline what tasks must be completed in order for you to achieve your desired end result.

Creating an effective plan serves as a roadmap for guiding you throughout the duration of your project. Your roadmap should include clear goals and objectives, timelines, and actionable steps that you and all your team members can follow.

This helps ensure that everyone involved knows what they need to do in order to keep things running smoothly. Taking the time to plan out each stage of your project helps eliminate unnecessary stress by helping you stay organized and focused on what needs to be done next.

When done correctly, your plan will give you a set of timelines and guidelines that you can use to track progress, identify areas where more resources may be needed, and help you keep momentum on your projects.

This allows for benchmarking so you can track and identify problems, success points, and areas needing improvement quickly. Plus it helps break down larger tasks into smaller milestones so that you meet those targets within a defined time frame.

Ultimately effective planning leads to greater clarity around priorities and expectations which can provide a huge sense of relief from chaos and uncertainty when faced with upcoming deadlines or crises.

2) Build connections with your stakeholders and team members.

Cultivate relationships with your stakeholders and team members so that you can enjoy a more productive work environment.

Rather than trying to work alone, build meaningful relationships so that you can rely on your impactful connections when the need arises. Doing so will lighten the load and leave more room for project success in the future.

Sometimes stress happens when you don’t know what to do, or how to get a team member to complete their task. This will become better when you can easily engage everyone, get them on track or provide the resources they need in order to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively.

Effective communication between team members is essential to identify stakeholders’ needs. Regular check-ins with your team will help build your relationship. Open dialogue also allows everyone to voice any issues or concerns which can help keep potential problems from getting out of hand before they become too big of an issue and stressful for you.

3) Set Realistic Goals Based on Resource Capabilities

Setting realistic goals is an incredibly important component of successful project management and reducing stress. As a project manager, it is important to assess each task separately and determine whether the goal is realistic given its timeframe, resources, and complexity.

When evaluating the goal’s feasibility, consider if it can be achieved by several individual milestones instead of one large deliverable. By breaking down the tasks into smaller components, you can measure existing capabilities while providing acknowledgments along the way which will help maintain morale as you work towards your ultimate accomplishments.

Setting an unrealistic goal can lead to disappointment and frustration, both of which contribute to added stress. Hence It’s important for you to set achievable goals that can be accomplished within reasonable time frames in order to ensure success without creating added stress levels for team members who may feel overwhelmed if expectations are too high or unreasonable.

Keeping your cool while taking on a time-sensitive task is not only crucial for maintaining control, but also essential to the team’s overall performance and achievement of project success.

4) Take Time Off To Pause and Reflect

Make sure to take regular breaks throughout your day or week – this will give you an opportunity to regroup, reflect, and reset. Taking regular breaks throughout your project also allows you some time away from the task at hand so you can come back feeling energized and focused again.

Make sure you set aside a few minutes every day or plan larger chunks of leisure time during long holidays such as weekends or vacations in order to give yourself the rest needed before returning to work with new motivation and energy.

Vacation and time-offs help us reduce stress by allowing us to step back from our daily routines – ultimately giving us a chance to gain a new perspective, and think more clearly about how best to approach our projects going forward.

Allowing yourself a break from work, is important for replenishing your energy levels and giving you the opportunity to come back with fresh insights.

5) Practice Meditation and Deep breathing

Making meditation and deep breathing part of your daily routine can be a great way to reduce stress and approach your daily obstacles.

Meditation provides the opportunity to slow down and refocus, while deep breathing helps us relax. Making sure to take 10-20 minutes daily to continuously practice these two things will bring physical and mental clarity, which ultimately equips us with the right tools necessary to feel more relaxed and less stressed.

Take a few moments daily to meditate or walk outdoors or in nature, and notice how your cognitive functioning sharpens. Try taking 3 to 5 deep breaths, and you’ll recognize the profound difference it makes.

The practice of deep breathing has been proven effective at reducing stress levels by helping us relax both physically & mentally which leads us toward greater feelings of well-being & self-confidence over time.

Final Thoughts

Keeping stress levels under control when tackling projects takes practice, but with the right methods – including thoughtful planning, communication, and goal-setting; taking time to reflect; meditation & deep breathing – any task can feel more manageable while enhancing our overall mental health.

By utilizing these helpful tips, you can regulate your stress levels to ensure that you remain at your peak performance level regardless of the obstacles ahead. Avoid overburdening yourself with projects and, instead, strive to achieve a balance between working diligently while also taking care of your physical and mental health.

Allowing ourselves space in order to breathe deeply will enable us to function optimally under challenging circumstances ultimately leading to greater success in achieving whatever goal lies ahead.


How do you overcome stress or challenges during tough project timelines?

As a project manager, I know how stress and challenges can arise during tough project timelines. To effectively overcome stress and challenges that arise, I believe it is important to stay mindful of your mental health.

It’s important to recognize that stress can have serious consequences for your mental health as stress hormones increase the risk for fatigue, depression, anxiety, and other health issues.

Incorporating stress relief methods into your daily routine can help to keep stress hormones at bay. This could include anything from deep breathing exercises to simply taking a walk outside in nature.

Practicing self-care is key when managing stress during difficult times, as stress can cause us to become overwhelmed and give up. So, it’s important to remember that being proactive with stress relief measures can make all the difference in achieving success on tough projects.

What causes stress in a project?

Project stress is a common and often demanding component of many project manager roles, with the leading stressor typically found in tight deadlines, resource shortage or unavailability, budget constraints, and lack of cost/time estimates.

When these stressors accumulate, they create a hostile working environment which can lead to burnout and adversely impact physical health. As a project manager, stress management is an essential skill to have. You must ensure you take frequent breaks throughout the day to clear your mind and tend to your physical health needs.

A good stress management practice includes making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep during the night which will help ensure your stress levels won’t spiral uncontrollably during demanding periods.

Additionally, by working systematically on tasks, and prioritizing high-priority ones first, project managers can reduce stress due to time crunches or budget concerns tremendously.

What drives stress in project team members?

Stress hormones are released into the body when a person perceives an impending threat, leading to the body’s stress response.

In teams or workplace scenarios, stress can come from numerous sources such as the team members’ overall workload, tensions between co-workers, or feeling overwhelmed by their to-do list.

Working with a long to-do list and competing demands from co-workers can cause stress levels to rise quickly. An important part of stress management is taking control of your stress response rather than allowing stress hormones to take control of you.

Ultimately, stress comes from the lack of control over one’s surroundings and it’s important for team members to act proactively in taking control of their work circumstances so they can remain stress-free.

What are 3 causes of work stress?

While there are many potential sources of stress in the workplace, from my experience, three sources of stress I have observed are avoidable unhealthy habits, sleep disturbances, and overall health challenges.

Unhealthy lifestyle habits like poor diet choices, excessive drinking, and regular caffeine consumption can increase stress levels over time.

Also, not getting enough quality sleep can amplify the body’s natural stress response to difficult situations – make sure to get enough sleep each night, avoid late-night electronics use before bedtime and practice good sleep hygiene.

It is important to prioritize overall health in order to keep our stress levels at bay – regular exercise, taking supplements, and eating a balanced diet will help support our bodies through times of high stress.

Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions should take extra time to avoid stressful tasks or environments that could exacerbate their symptoms.

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you, if you purchase through the links. I only link to products, services and other businesses I believe will add value to you. Learn more from our privacy policy.

Yemisi Iyilade

Yemisi Iyilade is a Project Management Professional, PMP and Maxwell Leadership Coach and Trainer. She has worked in the environmental, nonprofit, and technology industries, developing new products and services, providing leadership, and facilitating meaningful engagement with stakeholders. Yemisi is driven by a mission to empower young people, women, and immigrant professionals through content delivery, coaching and training. She believes that if given the right tools and tactics, any motivated person can gain the awareness and grit needed to create better opportunities.


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Keep reading