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Episode 257: How To Get More Done With Less Stress (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for The PMI-ACP Exam:
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Episode 257: How To Get More Done With Less Stress (Free)This interview with Sarita Maybin was recorded at the Southland Technology Conference 2013 in Long Beach.

Sarita Maybin ( gave us a high energy presentation at this year's SoTeC Conference. We discovered how to get done the things that matter most and set limits with people who make unreasonable demands, including three ways to say “no” nicely.

We recorded this interview right after she finished her presentation and discuss: How to determine which tasks are urgent, important…or neither; Three strategies for identifying priorities; How to spend more time on the tasks that relate to your goals; How to identify and eliminate your most common time wasters; How and when you procrastinate; Top five techniques for overcoming procrastination; How guilt, perfectionism and other personal traits stress you out and waste your time; Clues that you are on stress overload…and what to do about it; And some real life stress strategies.

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.


Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: I am still at the Southland Technology Conference 2013 here at the Hilton Hotel in Long Beach and with me is a fabulous speaker. We have just come out of Sarita Maybin's presentation.

Podcast Interview

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Sarita!

Sarita Maybin: Hello Cornelius! How are you?

Cornelius Fichtner: I am very well! I'm excited. I'm energized. That was probably the fastest one-hour presentation that I've ever been into and by fast, I mean it was so entertaining and exciting that it went by like [snap] that.

Sarita Maybin: And I must say the group was quite enthusiastic and that energy really just made the time fly by.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right! Now, the title of your presentation was: "How to get more done with less stress". This is something everyone needs, right?

Sarita Maybin: True, true.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! You started out the presentation by looking at 5 habits that gave us stress. What we decided to do is because we're talking to project managers here, one of these 5 habits is really important for them and we want to help them to overcome it. But we do want to take a look at the other 4 just on a very high level as well. So let's start out with the first one: Perfectionism. What's it with this? Why does it cause us stress?

Sarita Maybin: Well you know as I mentioned in the workshop, those of us who are perfectionists, myself included, tend to act as though we have it all handled so people don’t help us. So the biggest challenge for us is to ask for help without looking weak. As you might recall from the workshop, I talked about the importance of focusing on the other person: "You know you're really good at fund raising. We'd love your input in this particular committee." "You know you're really good with people. We'll love it if you could help us with the social event." So focusing on how the other person might contribute rather than:"Oh, I'm so weak. I need your help, help, help" which does not sit well with the perfectionist. So that's the reason that's on the list of stressors.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right and then there's something that every project manager pretty much has to do and has to be in and that is trying to fix and control others. How does that cause us stress?

Sarita Maybin: Yes, well as we well know, people sometimes don’t want to be fixed or changed. And of course that presents a challenge. I am always reminded of the story I shared with the group which is when my daughter was arriving trying to prepare myself for her arrival by subscribing to the parenting magazine. And in the magazine they said people are pretty much formed by 4 years old. So how does that, in other words, how can possibly expect to change someone who has been that way since they were 4 years old? And for me, that was a wakeup call. The fact that people have been pretty much who they are for a long time. So it might be kind of futile for us to attempt to fix or change them.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. The funny thing you did was you made people get up every time and say: "Now, are you a perfectionist? Are you trying to control others?" That was a very nice entertaining thing because I actually had to get up to all of these 5.

Sarita Maybin: That's why I think you got an aerobic workout Cornelius.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, I did. The fourth one here and we're skipping number 3 because number is 3 is the one we really want to focus on. So number is overanalyzing. How is that?

Sarita Maybin: Yes. Well you know, often people do things and then we ruminate and obsess all day long: "Why did they do that? What did I say to them? What could be the reason?" We spend a lot of energy worrying about things that most often are not about us. And as you might recall, I shared my favorite 3 P's for staying positive. First of which was not taking things personally because most of the time, people are not thinking about us. Secondly, this thing shall pass. And then thirdly, don’t let this ruin my big picture --- Personal, Permanent, Picture. Three ways that we can stay positive instead of handwringing and obsessing and overanalyzing.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right and then the fifth item on your list of habits that give us stress: People pleasing.

Sarita Maybin: Yes, yes. You know one thing I neglected to mention in the presentation which I really think sums it up is somebody told me years ago the definition of resentment. And the definition of resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

And so what happens is we do things to people and they bug us and we're kind of obsessing about the fact that: You know what? It's miserable. They're awful. Why are they keep doing that? I'm trying to please them. There's no pleasing them. And they're oblivious. They're walking along going about their day, la-la-la-la-la-la, and here we are going [disgust] because we've taken the proverbial poison.

And so resentment is what builds up often when we attempt to please others and forego our own needs. And so that resentment causes us problems. And so I think as I pointed out in the workshop, it's better to just say no, set boundaries, choose to pass on things rather than resenting the person for asking you.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! And then back to the third habit that causes us stress which is the one we really want to focus on, that is too many priorities. But before we look at that one in detail, you do this professionally right? You fly around the country and you help people with these habits and other issues as well right?

Sarita Maybin: Well you know my official tagline is helping people work together better, but my clients always say: Just tell people to help them play nicely. Sometimes people are stressed and negative and angst-ridden at work and not playing so nicely. So yes, for 20 years now, I've been traveling around within the country and even internationally to conferences, companies and even campuses.

Cornelius Fichtner: And people, trust me, she's really good. As a matter of fact, people as I walking out were saying: "Oh I hope they bring her back as a keynote speaker next year. This would be so great!"

Sarita Maybin: That would be great.

Cornelius Fichtner: That is a really nice compliment there. How can people find you?

Sarita Maybin: Well, the easiest way is to go to my website which is and that's of course s-a-r-i-t-a-m-a-y-b-i-n .com or, same website.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Perfect! Back to the third habit here. Too many priorities, I think everybody listening to this podcast can empathize here. But why do too many priorities cause us stress?


Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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