Rolling with the Punches: How to Manage Work Stress

At A.M. Mangion Ltd., we understand that stress is an inevitable part of everyday life.

We have caught up with Bettina Falzon, Chief Operations Officer at ANCHOVY. — the team handling our digital marketing — to see how this busy working mother deals with the stress of raising a family at home and looking after her work family.

What does a typical day at ANCHOVY. look like for you?

My day starts off early!

Getting in at 7 am, before the hustle and bustle of the working day starts is essential. I start my day by organising the workflow of eighteen people before they start their day at 8:30; managing all the ins and outs that is required of the head of operations to keep things running smoothly.

We then have our morning scrum, which is a catch up from the previous day — with the team leaders presenting the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

Once everyone returns to their desk I end up tackling the issues that arise from the previous day.

There are always staff issues and HR; dealing with meetings with the directors, ensuring everything is in line with their greater vision for the company, and ensuring that things are moving towards this vision.

All of this workload comes in over and above my own tasks.

When it comes to closing off the day, I start with a walk around studio — making sure everyone has all the tools they need; making sure all the team leaders have the right team members, the right resources needed from studio, the right materials to keep their work running smoothly.

How do you deal with frustrations from lack of cooperation or things not going according to plan?

I stop whatever I had planned for the day, and end up starting my day at 8 pm — once I put my kids to bed.

Once something happens to the key players, that I didn’t anticipate, then I have to step in to fix that — and I only manage to start my actual workload from home in the evening.

What kind of an impact does taking your work have on your personal life?

Mostly it has an impact on just myself. I make sure that it only affects me once my children are asleep. It only has an impact on my personal stretch of time — I always make sure to shield everyone else from taking my work home.

I make sure that my responsibilities as a mother come first, and work second, once at home — even if it ends up with me working late into the night to finish off my task list for the day.

How do you juggle being a busy working woman with being a mum?

I really overcompensate with my children. No matter how tired I am, I will put on the most energetic face when I go to pick them up.

I’m used to it, overcompensating by planning lots of activities and filling up every spare moment of their time that I can.

What I can say is that in my daughter’s class, around 70% of mothers work — so it’s become quite the norm really.
What impact does work have on your social life?

I have no social life — that’s the thing that has gone. My social life are my children and their friends — they come before my husband and my friends.

It’s a sacrifice — but it’s what you give up. No personal time, no gym time, no exercise time. I won’t touch an hour into my kids’ time. I suppose that my work has become my me time.

Does this lead to any stress?

It does, it gets stressful but it’s not unmanageable stress. You just never stop.

How do you handle stressful situations?

A glass of wine at the end of my day and a good movie.

What happens if you don’t deal with the cause of stress directly?

I know that I’m stressed when I get really dark circles under my eyes from not sleeping and IBS kicks in. I don’t absorb my stress and implode — it tends to manifest itself more physically than emotionally.

How do you deal with these physical manifestations?

There are almost no cures on the market to treat stress-related illness. I used to handle it with exercising but that’s obviously gone out the window now.

I’m actually quite strongly affected by the symptoms of IBS.

What I’ve tried recently, to help, is using the innovative product Enterosgel — and I can actively feel like my gut has balanced.

I don’t feel that stress-related cramping or bloating — I think for an IBS sufferer it’s quite a life changing product that I am very happy with. It’s preventative for so many symptoms that plague me when I get stressed out.

What do you love most about the job?
What do you not love so much?

What do I love most about the job? The people, and the fast pace — there’s never a dull moment!

I love the vibe that we’ve created. If there’s a place I wanted to hang out outside of home, it would be the office!

I mean, we’re sitting here in an extension of our bedrooms — we’re like siblings. There’s no divide between management and employee — it’s what I love. I feel as though I’m part of an extended family.

What do I like the least about the job? The fact that it is time away from my children.

Do you have any advice to young, ambitious, career-minded women?

Make sure you do what you love, because when you become a mother, you really need to go somewhere that you love, or do something you love, to justify that time away from your children.

Make sure you work your way into something that you love. No amount of money is worth going somewhere that I hate.

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