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Sometimes you just need good reminders … now is one of those times, for me at least.  Stress is inevitable if you serve in a product management role for any length of time. And while you can’t necessarily control the external circumstances that cause stress, you can manage your reaction to it.

Over the course of time, I’ve come across several resources I found helpful when the various aspects of the product management role inevitably begin to overwhelm me and I get stressed.  In particular, these 3 concepts have helped me keep perspective … that not all stress is bad … that being intentional about focus will help … and that work/life balance CANNOT be ignored. I hope they encourage you as well.

Image #1 – Forbes Article – How Successful People Stay Calm

“The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.

90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.”

Image #2 – Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid

“If you apply the Covey time management matrix to your own professional and private life, you will notice that the majority of your activities can be found within quadrant I and III. Experience shows that quadrant II is neglected by most people, especially in the area of their own personal development.

However, the importance of the second quadrant must not be underestimated. If you notice a big gap in this quadrant it means that your focus lies too much on the operative aspect, while the strategic perspective is left behind. For this reason, Covey addresses quadrant II as an exceptionally important part of the matrix. Without this quadrant efficient time management would not be possible, as it requires strategic elements as well.”

Image #3Jeremy Kubicek’s 5 Gears

“The concept of the 5 Gears is actually an emotional intelligence tool … most people don’t shift or don’t know how to shift in the right time. So, they grind their gears, or it’s lurchy, or they stay in one gear the whole time. The metaphor is simply 5th gear being focused mode, 4th gear being task mode, 3rd gear being social mode, 2nd gear being connect mode, 1st gear being recharge mode. We need all of those gears. Yet most of us stay in one or two of them. When we stay in just one or two of them, we disconnect. We might be highly productive but we wear ourselves out. It’s an emotional intelligence tool, but on the other hand, it’s also a work life balance tool – it teaches that work life balance isn’t about time but it’s about mindset – to learn how to be at the right gear at the right time.”

Obviously these are just snipits.  Follow the links to dig into them more, or if you’ve found other resources/concepts that have helped I’d love to hear about them.