PostItScreamingLadyStressed out over a big project? Welcome to the club! This time of year includes budget presentations, annual conferences, and many other "high profile" opportunities for professionals to share their ideas with key constituents or produce annual deliverables. With all this pressure to deliver – and be compared to what happened in prior years - comes.... Stress!

Now, I've heard about "good stress" versus "bad stress" and while I think a certain degree of "focus" helps most of us to "bring it" - I'm not here to tell you that there is such a thing as "good stress." What I will share with you are three simple steps to make sure when "your turn" comes – you'll be poised and ready to make the most of it!

  1. Make a List – We've written about the virtues of list making in our blog before. We recently touted their benefits in Time Management – but when you have a huge project going... you've got to find a way to manage all the moving parts. Whether it's keeping a running "to do list" or using a more complex project management application or tool – the key here is documentation! When you take time to document your deliverables, and at as granular a level as is appropriate for your project or organization, you reduce the chances that something might fall through the cracks! In the old days we used to say; "A piece of paper never forgets" which meant writing it down on a list helped alleviate the human error of forgetting something. Maybe the current version is "an App never forgets" but I digress.
  2. Communicate Expectations – Effective communication tips are another often explored topic here at the (thought)wide blog. When you have a complex, high-impact project or presentation – make it a point to keep all the various parties, constituents, key stakeholders, and other impacted individuals up to date on where things stand. From regularly scheduled and appropriately pulsed conference calls to one-on-one meetings to group emails – share your list, project plan, etc. and keep everyone on the same page. Strive to keep all the parties involved and communicating frequently. In my experience, you are far more likely to under communicate and forget to inform someone of a key item than you are to be blamed for over communicating about the big annual project! This is also true when multiple individuals are contributing – keep everyone moving toward the goal and celebrate publicly the small wins along the way to keep morale up (and stress down!).
  3. Do Your Research – Often, the really BIG projects, presentations and conferences/meetings happen each and every year. Be sure to document the "hits and misses" each year and then during the planning stage next year - review your notes and familiarize yourself with what worked and make plans to avoid what was less than optimal in prior years. There is a famous quote by Edmund Burke; "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it" – don't doom your big project by allowing the avoidable obstacles you learned about last year to present themselves again this year.

It's too late? You can't help but worry and be stressed because your project/event/presentation planning is already underway? Even if your big annual project is well underway – document what you've accomplished and where you are, set up regular communication points, and go back to the archives and see what you can learn from years past – and your chances of success this year just went up exponentially!

And, remember, you have these big, high profile projects because you have talents and have proven yourself in the past. Others trust you, trust yourself!

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