Like being a stock broker in the year 1929, being an IT manager in 2016 can be a pretty stressful gig: Your backend system is a complicated mixture of old and new applications that have been randomly pieced together from multiple vendors as a result of decades of acquisitions, Russian hackers are constantly trying to infect your system with malware in order to extort precious, precious Bitcoins, and Martha from accounting keeps trying to torrent The Force Awakens even though it’s been available on Netflix for at least two months now.

With so much on your plate, it can be hard to stay organized. Hopefully this 7 item priority list will make your job a little bit easier.

1. Manage Time. If a help desk ticket unexpectedly balloons into a 15-hour-long marathon session, your team should inform you. You may need to find another team member or resource to assist.

2. Balance Human Resources. If your department is understaffed and you have deadlines that desperately need to be met, be careful not to push your team to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. That strategy didn’t work out so well for J.K. Simmonds in the movie Whiplash, and we doubt it will work out well for you. Create a simple spreadsheet that lists your employees and the current and upcoming projects they’re working on. It acts as visual representation to allow you to make the appropriate adjustments.

3. Monitor Usage. Dedicate time for you and your team to review the way technology is being used at your company. If you use Ubiq for wireless presentations, go to the Dashboard and study the usage logs. The information you find there could hold the key to improving meeting room productivity.

4. Security Check. As more and more companies are implementing BYOD policies and opening up their network to external teams, it is critical to make sure your infrastructure is protected from viruses and hacks. If your company has more than 100 employees, it’s safe to say that at least one of them has fallen for the trick popularized by Mr. Robot of leaving a USB stick out in the parking lot and hoping that an employee will plug it in on a company computer. Find out who it is and give them a stern talking to.

5. Team Check. As a leader, you need to check in with your team and talk to them about the work environment, their vision, and opportunities to grow the department. Make sure they stay engaged and motivated. If you sense their motivation is lagging, take them out to lunch or buy them coffee and try to boost their spirits.

6. Speak with Vendors. Chances are that your technology is not all “in-house.” Reach out to your vendors to address concerns, get updates on new releases/upgrades, and review performance and optimization. Those conversations should then be shared with your team to prepare for any new tasks or projects.

7. Benchmark Trends. Is it time to upgrade technology or implement something new? Look at the industry landscape for the latest hardware and software. If your company has the money, see if they’ll fly you out to one of this fall’s major tech conferences. You may not be able to make changes right away. However, it gives you an opportunity to create a roadmap with other departments, and set priorities and timelines in the future.

By following the steps on this checklist, it is our hope that your stress levels will go from that of a Great Depression-era stock broker to that of a Newfoundland fisherman circa 1535. But in the off-chance they don’t, there’s always diet and exercise. That almost always does the trick.

Additional Reading
Working In IT is Getting More Stressful
IT Stress: Management, Empathy, and the Kindness of Strangers
Most IT Admins Considering Quitting Due to Stress