Help Your Team Manage Stress & More: This Week in Productivity – Jan 29, 2016

Welcome to This Week in Productivity, our weekly round-up where we share the best productivity insights from around the web. This week, we’ve found ways to manage an overflowing contact list, to the importance of differentiating the important from the urgent, and what to do if you feel stuck and unsatisfied in business or life. We’ve also discovered how to reduce team stress and ways to hold people accountable.

Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout
by Rich Fernandez (@_richfernandez) 

Key Takeaway: Work is getting more demanding and complex, and because many of us now work in 24/7 environments, anxiety and burnout are not uncommon. Investing in your team’s personal growth and development is the first step in supporting sustainable productivity.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Model and encourage activities that promote well-being. Wellness spreads virally so everyone will benefit even if only a few practice it. You can share personal development tools, help people exercise more often, or teach time and workload management techniques.
  2. Be intentional and explicit about when not to engage. Give your team time to stay offline so they can de-stress.
  3. Train your team’s in mindfulness. You can use apps like Calm and Headspace to help you out.
  4. Emphasize “serial monotasking”. Set multiple milestones but tackle them one at a time.
  5. Encourage your team to take breaks. The Pomodoro technique is one of the best in this regard.
  6. Demonstrate empathy and compassion as a leader. It will cost you nothing, but research as demonstrated that the potential for these leadership traits to improve employee performance, engagement, and profitability.

How the Over-Networked Can Manage Their Contacts
by Matt Bird (@Relationology)

Key Takeaway: Nurturing relationships is important, both in business and in life. But managing an ever-growing number of contacts can be overwhelming, unless you have a sound strategy in place.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Review your diary, phone contacts and social networks. List or draw a mind map of all the people you spend time with already, as well as those you want to connect with more often.
  2. Prioritize the top 20% of people you want to connect with more often by proactively developing your relationship with them. For example, you can potentially do lunch dates, ridesharing or do a mutual hobby together.
  3. For the rest (your “second-tier”contacts), create a regular social event to keep in touch. It can be as often as once a month to just a few times per year. This also adds value since you get the opportunity to introduce your contacts to each other.
  4. Use efficient ways of handling requests for your time. For example, take calls instead of holding face-to-face meetings, refer the person to someone with better expertise, or even just turn them down gently if you really can’t help.
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Deconstructing Urgent vs. Important
by Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog)

Key Takeaway: To effectively get things done in the long term, you need to differentiate between what’s important versus what’s urgent. Taking care of the important things usually reduces the urgent ones, but the reverse is rarely true.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Building effective business systems and keeping your customer promises is important, and long term helps to avoid problems that may require urgent fixes.
  2. The news we consume from the media, our boss and our customers affects us. Try not to become emotionally reactive in the short term. You’ll generally make more rational long term decisions if you don’t.

High Earners Adrift
by Steve Pavlina (@StevePavlina)

Key Takeaway: There are times in our life when we get stuck, when life becomes unsatisfying. To get unstuck, you need to figure out how to shift your perspective and face the present so that you can find your future.

Tips and Tricks:
What should you do to get unstuck?

  1. Make necessary changes and think of it like a relationship breakup. You’ll experience the same extreme emotions but know that you will come out okay in the end.
  2. Surrender yourself to the situation because things won’t work out if you keep on the same course. Face your fears to overcome them.
  3. Tolerance isn’t surrender. When you tolerate a situation, you permit it to exist but if you refuse to surrender to it and move on, you can’t extract the lessons from it.
  4. Learn that it’s okay if progress with your changes seems inconsistent. You’ll get your bearings eventually as long as you are moving forward.

The Right Way to Hold People Accountable
by Peter Bregman (@peterbregman)

Key Takeaway: Accountability is not simply taking the blame when something goes wrong. Accountability is about delivering on a commitment. It’s responsibility to an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It’s taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Be clear on your expectations.
  2. Be clear on the skills and resources needed for success. Don’t set a person up for failure. Provide them with the resources, help them learn the skills if they don’t have them or delegate accountability to someone else instead.
  3. Be clear on how you measure success. Set milestones, objective targets, and schedule regular reviews as part of your initial expectations.
  4. Be clear when providing feedback. Regular feedback helps your team improve by giving a fact-based measurement of their progress.
  5. Be clear on the consequences of performance. If there seems to be a lack of clarity, repeat the steps. Then, you can reward success or release the person from the role if necessary.