Establishing Habits to Combat Stress and Uncertainty

Katie Guzman

Product Management Lead at Asana



Stress and uncertainty can have a big impact on productivity, not only for you as a manager but for your team as well. There are many ways to combat these aspects and become more productive in your daily work. Here is what I have found works well for me and my team.

Actions taken

I'm the ultimate time hacker, especially when it comes to my calendar. I'm a big believer in the manager schedule/maker schedule philosophy. I block out at least 90 minutes every morning to do the planning and strategic work. (I also try to get to the office early.) Too often we don't make this important work a priority due to the fact that it's not always urgent. However, if I don't take this time to prep and plan then I end up feeling controlled by the meetings that I have. We also have review meetings every Friday and I have space devoted for 'office hours' on Wednesday to jam with teams on their work in preparation. We try to avoid the last minute 'oh crap!' moments. This way, if we're doing a launch review on Friday, we've already got everything together by Wednesday. I also think a scary time for teams is those review meetings, so we try to be really clear with our expectations when giving feedback. A common fail case of these meetings is people prepare a bunch of work and then leave with a handful of notes, not always clear on which pieces of feedback were a random ideas versus important facts. Therefore, we follow a 'Do/Try/Consider' model.

Lessons learned

Establish some rituals and habits that create a rhythm for yourself and your team. When external things are moving quickly and unexpectedly, having a few centers of control- like your calendar and how you conduct your meetings- can really provide structure and a sense of calmness.

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Katie Guzman

Product Management Lead at Asana

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionSkill Development

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