Struggling with stress? Some tips that helped me overcome the day-to-day pressure of leading an engineering team

On my 31st birthday, I was so stressed that I dropped to tears.

I was in a summer house with my family, where I should be taking vacations, but instead, I was under pressure, helping my team deliver on a tight deadline. I felt miserable.

And yet, that same day, I was given valuable advice.

Stress is pressure, plus not having a plan.

Pressure is everywhere, but we can influence how much of that turns into stress.

It is vital to know how to manage our stress levels. Not doing it can impact your work-life balance, lead to burnout, or negatively affect your health. Learning mechanisms to handle stressful situations can help us be more professional and spend more quality time with our families.

Let me share a few tips that helped me achieve that:

1. Focus on what you can control

Some people assign responsibility to things outside their influence. i.e., their boss, luck, or even destiny.

Instead, focus on what you can do to improve things, even if the odds are small. Have peace of mind knowing that you are doing the best you can.

Finally, have a flexible mindset of empathy and acceptance to deal with bad outcomes.

2. Deal with conflict as soon as you can

A minor conflict today can turn into a snowball tomorrow. The sooner you deal with it, the easier it will be to deal with it.

Have that difficult conversation with a direct report in less than 24 hours. Tell your boss you dread a deadline as soon as you notice it. Don't let conflict linger in your head unresolved.

3. Take things out of your mind

Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by having to manage too many things simultaneously.

Writing all those things down rather than having them in our heads can feel liberating. Also, writing it down will make it easier to visualize and prioritize

Back to my story, I'm now 39, and although I still face stressful days from time to time, they feel much shorter in time and intensity.

Matias Lespiau

Matias Lespiau

Madrid, Spain