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Is Being a Manager Burning You Out? Three Daily Habits to Combat Stress

According to a recent Columbia University study, more than 18% of managers suffer from depression, 6% more than individual contributors, and 2% more than executive officers. How can you keep your personal life from distracting you, or burning you out, at work (as a manager of a team who depends on your support)? Regardless of your role, managing emotional stress involves practice and a commitment to sustainable long-term choices; it’s both an art and a science. The following tips will start you on the path from frazzled manager to poised leader.

Plan your day like a marathon.

Inefficiencies lead to decreased productivity and increased stress. Plan your week carefully to maximize your time. First, make a list of all you need to get done that week or day (depending on how far ahead your brain can/wants to plan). Delegate as much of that list as you can, and ask your direct reports to hold you accountable for delegation.

Think of your day like a marathon, and plan your activities to maximize your energy in intervals. Maybe you’d prefer spending your mornings handling housekeeping tasks like responding to emails. That way, you could look forward to more creative, enjoyable activities — like brainstorming or strategizing — in the afternoon. Or perhaps you’d feel better tackling your daily duties in order of importance. Your daily schedule should make you feel comfortable, productive, and empowered.

Ban all meetings (almost).

Unnecessary meetings can be dreadful time-wasters, especially during stressful periods when it’s hard to step away from The Things That Need Doing. Politely bow out of any meetings you don’t need to attend, or send direct reports on your behalf if someone from your team needs to be there. HBR has a great rundown on how to know if a meeting really needs to happen (or if it can instead be an email, etc).

Also, try to schedule your meetings in blocks, one after the other, so that you’re not constantly context-switching between execution and group conversations. If possible, block out an entire day every week on your calendar as your “no meetings day” (Wednesday is the ‘no meetings’ day of choice here at Hired), including going as far to block out the time on your calendar as busy/unavailable.

Ruthlessly recharge.

Enjoying nutritious meals, getting a good night’s sleep, and working out are not trivial distractions from the work at hand. To the contrary, these activities are essential to your success at work ― and are just as important, if not more important, as anything else you’ll do during the week. There are zero shortcuts when it comes to rest and nourishment.

By exercising consistently, you’ll have greater stamina and confidence, and you’ll ward off emotional stress, anger, and depression. When you consume a balanced diet, you’ll . Plus, certain foods can sharpen your thinking: berries, walnuts, sardines, and spinach are a just a few examples.

In the end, pressure is inevitable in just about any job, and it can even have its (short-term) advantages. Pressure might initially compel you to perform at peak levels, but that adrenaline rush is only so productive before it becomes unsustainable. When you’re on the brink of burnout (or think you might be), take special care to structure your routine, eat healthy foods consistently, exercise regularly, and sleep with a vengeance.