Managing Workplace Stress

There is no such thing as a typical day in the life of a PA, and pressure is at the heart of your role. We’ve all been there; you have your day planned out when a “…can you just” grenade blows up your to-do list.

While you can’t control everything, YOU have the power to control how you respond to those external factors.

Cushioning your executive so they can focus on their core role is at the heart of an assistant’s life, and you will forever be juggling the pressure of meeting multiple deadlines and rising up to a challenging obligation, but chronic, long term stress can have a detrimental impact on your long term health.

We’ve complied a list of tips to add to your self-care toolbox so that you don’t end up lobbing a wad of Post-it notes at the head of the next person who ventures near to your desk.


You have the ability to control your workload by prioritising effectively. Organise your time well and you will immediately feel the benefits. One simple way to do this by offering times and dates rather than requesting them.

Tell people that you will call them back, giving you time to compose a response. Block out time in your calendar each day to deal with your emails, assigning time in the morning and again, another block at the end of the day.


Interruptions are part of the job description, managing them will make your life infinitely easier. Did you know that each interruption can take up to 2 minutes for you to regain focus?

Keep track of your tasks with a to-do list, letting you monitor reshuffles and allowing you to give each task the attention it deserves before moving onto the next.

There are some brilliant apps available or you can use a notebook, crossing each item off as you go. No more lost post-it notes!

Recommended Apps

Keep yourself on task with Focus Keeper by applying the Pomodoro Technique™ for increased productivity.

Check out the award winner Remember The Milk for smart task management. This app syncs across devices and integrates with email and cloud storage.


Learning the nuts and bolts of the business and knowing your executive will help you understand the objective of the task, allowing you to prioritise effectively.
– As always, if you are unsure, ask.


Sounds so simple, right? The reality is that when we are stressed, we take shorter breaths which increases anxiety.

When you find yourself tensing up, take a few minutes for a mini mediation session. Take 10 slow, deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth; making sure that to empty your lungs.

Sometimes removing yourself by taking a 5 minute break is enough to reset and refocus.


‘No’ is a complete sentence.  If you are at capacity, say so.  Offer a time frame or delegate the task.  

By saying no, it gives you the benefit of not over-committing and keeping control over your schedule thereby ensuring that you continue to deliver work that meets your high standards.


Holding ourselves to a very high bar is one thing but being a perfectionist can create problems for oneself and those around you. There may be times when you are unable to do everything to the level you expect of yourself every time however results are better than delivering nothing.
– Strive to do your best and take time to congratulate yourself on your efforts.

Written By Sofie Woodward