I have been presented with more and more time management issues lately. The constant barrage of emails from companies wanting me to purchase their services or how to run my business better get mixed with actual work emails that I either don’t see or forget to go back an answer. Add in my children’s events and the flood of emails, paperwork, etc. that go along with those and it all get’s very overwhelming.
When I couple email and work stress, with an active family lifestyle, the constant push, pull and stress cause a lot of tossing and turning at night. Some days I just feel beaten down. Do you find you struggle with time management? Maybe it’s all the time or every once in a while. Either way, stress takes its toll on everything we do.
Time Management and Stress
Stress that is related to work is often brought about by lack of proper time management skills. With too much activity, one never have enough time to attend to work responsibilities within the allotted time, thus resulting in a stressful working environment. This applies on either small or complex projects, therefore careful planning of your schedule is crucial.
Individuals who manage multiple projects and manage their schedules are the ones often subjected to a lot of stress. There are several factors involved when running projects that are uncontrolled or cannot be prevented. All these add up to high levels of stress one might go through. That is why stress management and time management are typically addressed side by side due to their interrelation with one another.
Avoiding Time Wasters
Stress that shows itself around proper time management usually comes from your aim at increasing productivity, whether at home or at work. We are always looking for ways to do more in less time. Although stress is often a good stimulus to have in order to drive you towards achieving more, you need to also look at managing your time properly for higher productivity.
Below are some factors you need to avoid if you want to make the most out of your time and reduce stress at the same time:
- As with anything, there will always be a source of interruption. Learn how to deal with those interruptions effectively to save you time and get you back to doing what you had to. Put headphones on to indicate to others you are busy for example. Find something that works well for you.
- Make sure to carefully plan out what you need to do and how you do it. This will make it more convenient for you later on when you have to execute your plans. Use a planner, organizer, even post-it notes to write down what needs to happen.
- If you are working with other people on a project, having proper delegation skills is crucial. This involves your ability to share the workload with others. But more than just sharing workload, it also involves your ability to determine which people are best suited to perform specific tasks for higher efficiency.
Symptoms of Poor Time Management and Stressful Life
Effective time management can definitely do so much to change a stressful life and also boost your level of productivity. To get started on an efficient time management technique, find a strategy that you can use and slowly adapt to it over a few days until you become accustomed to it. Eventually, you will find it second nature once you are used to your new schedule.
But the more important step towards making that change is recognizing whether you have poor time management skills that can lead to a stress. Here are tell-tale signs that you need to revise your time management methods:
- When you easily become irritable in the middle of doing your task.
- When you constantly end up feeling over-fatigued.
- When you have trouble concentrating on what you need to do.
- Inability to track your activities and keep on task.
- Inability to sleep well at night due to anxiety or unexplained worries.
Improving Time Management and Productivity
Proper management of your time often directly translates to increased productivity. Therefore, this should be one of your priorities if you want to reduce the level of stress you have to deal with on an everyday basis. Try out the strategies below and see if it fits you.
- Plan your daily activities. Write down the list of all activities you have to do for a given day, rank them according to the most important ones to avoid rushing your work.
- Never agree to do other work that is not scheduled UNTIL the scheduled work is complete.
- Practice the ability to delegate tasks properly so you would not have to do the major chunk of work.
- In between your tasks, take time to evaluate whether you are spending your time efficiently. If not, ask yourself why. If you can come up with another strategy….and quick!
- If possible, avoid any form of distraction. Easier said than done when you get that notification on Facebook or the latest ‘Breaking News’ story pops up. Turning off your internet while working on a task may help.
- Give yourself a break. This will reduce stress and increase your productivity.
When I find myself recognizing the symptoms of stress and my lack of time management, I have to remind myself to pause, take a breath and get myself organized. For me, not being organized leads to my stress. My coach also helps me remember these things. This topic also seems like a common one for my own coaching clients and a topic of interest when I am teaching workshops.
Time management sometimes feels like we are playing dodge ball some days. It can cause us to go off track for a bit, but with a few gentle reminders, it’s easy to get back on course.
To you growth, development and amazing potential,