Stress Management Tips for Localization Project Managers
The responsibilities of a localization project manager are numerous and ever-changing. PMs manage relationships between the translation company, its clients, and the linguists, all in locations around the world, so add time zones, languages and cultural differences to the mix. They are tasked with satisfying complicated multilingual project requirements and meeting everyone’s expectations.
To illustrate this, think of a policeman regulating a busy traffic intersection. He controls the flow and speed of traffic by directing cars. Now imagine drivers of some of these cars do not want to wait their turn and start yelling and honking their horns, other cars are going too slow or too fast, a few are going the wrong direction and some aren’t paying attention and hold up traffic. Stressful and chaotic, right? This simple example shows how managing multiple people, with various project objectives can quickly become stressful.
PMs should have a few techniques to manage stress in order to effectively execute multilingual translation projects. Below are some techniques to help keep the emotional balance in check.
- Have something cheerful on your desk. A picture of your family, friends, pet or even a vase of flowers will serve as a distraction and brighten your mood in a stressful moment.
- Have daily rituals. Develop morning rituals like drinking a cup of herbal tea or coffee while writing out your goals for the day, or having morning stand up meetings with your team members. Starting your day the same way, on your terms, will help you feel more in control throughout the day.
- Take short breaks every few hours to do exercises for your eyes and mind. This will help refresh your mind and serve as a brief distraction from challenges in your day. Mental breaks are key for problem solving.
- Get physical exercise on your longer breaks. During your lunch break, take time to get outside for some physical activity like walking, running or biking. The exercise and fresh air will energize you, stretch your muscles and clear your mind.
- End your day by making a list of tasks for the next day so you are ready to go when you come into your office at the start of your day.
PM Lifestyle Tips
- Stick to regular business hours and try to save long hours of unplanned work for emergency cases only. There are times when a PM has to work day and night, but if she makes it a habit, it could lead to burnout. Creating a to-do list will help you prioritize your tasks.
- Don’t multitask. No matter how productive you think you are being, multitasking is not effective and you will spend more time doing tasks simultaneously than you would doing each task individually.
- Balance your personal life and work life. Your work is very important, but so are your friends and family, schedule your life accordingly. Making time for yourself is essential.
- Be aware of all of your colleague’s time zones and locations. Know who is available when issues arise.
- Keep organized. Have detailed notes, contact information, folders, processes and documents.
- Have clear, open and respectful communication with your team members, linguistic resources and clients. Do not let your emotions get the best of you in moments of frustration.
- Recognize which environment makes you happy and productive. Do you work best with background music or silence? Lots of natural light or dim lighting? Do you work best early in the day or later in the evening? If you are able to work remotely, choose a location that best suits you. If you must work in an office, turn your desk into an environment that allows you to be productive and happy.
- Take vacations from work. Do not check or answer emails. Have your mobile phone on and with you, but for emergency cases only. Have quality time with the people dear to you. Then, when getting back to work, you will have the energy and spirit to deal even with the most difficult projects.
Stress is a normal part of life and a component of any job. However, there are ways you can mitigate that stress to make your career and life happy, healthy and successful.