Is your office tasks stressful and you are fatigued? If YES, here are 7 workable strategies for effectively managing your time and reducing stress ultimately.
Time management is a very important aspect of life but yet a lot of people will prefer to learn how to manage their money as opposed to their time. In reality, you can make more money but the time that you have wasted or misappropriated cannot be gotten back.
If you cannot manage your time well, you will definitely end up being stressed up. If you manage your time well however, you will notice that you will be happier and you will have a lot more time to do other things that are important to you.
What’s is Stress?
Stress can be said to be the body’s physical, mental and emotional response to external stimulus such as danger or threat. When a human being is faced with a dangerous or threatening situation, the body releases a flood of stress hormones including Cortisol and Adrenaline into the blood stream. These hormones help to aggrandize focus, increase reaction time, tighten muscles and increase strength and stamina thereby helping you to surmount the situation as best as possible.
This just goes to show that stress is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, stress can help to keep you on your toes during a presentation at work. However, the human body at times cannot tell the difference between physical danger and emotional distress and as such, it may react exactly the same way to both physical and emotional threat.
For instance, your body may interpret you trying to meet a deadline at work as a physical danger resulting in the release of stress hormones. When this happens quite often, it becomes even easier for the body to release the aforementioned hormone and more difficult to shutoff leading you to be in a heightened state of stress most of the time.
What’s the Correlation Between Stress and Time Management?
Are you finding yourself constantly behind in your work? Do you arrive at the end of the day and find out that you have accomplished absolutely nothing on your to-do list. Well, odds are that you are not good at time management and it is not doing your physiological health any good.
In fact, a study that was undertaken on work and stress found out that workers who did not put in contentious effort to manage their time felt less in control of their lives. A study that was conducted by the British Medical Journal says that work place stress is minimized by effective time management. It also opined that work place stress also bleeds over to home life and undermines a relaxed life at home.
Almost everyone in the work place is plagued with the stress that is associated with trying to meet deadlines while still trying to juggle other personal responsibilities and tasks. A lot of people in the world today have to fit into the role of parent, spouse or an employee. Trying to keep the roles that come with all these positions can be quite daunting even with the aid of technology.
There is the popular belief that if you are able to push yourself to work faster, then you will be able to overcome stress. Others on the other hand believe that that they can manage their time better by increasing the number of hours they work in a day and as a result, they end up depriving themselves of sleep.
3 Ultimate Benefits of Effective Time Management
a. It helps to reduce worry that comes with carrying out a project: When you create a clear plan and a timeline of important milestones, you will reduce the stress that comes from working on a project.
Having the milestones in check will help to keep you centralized and will allow you to check your progress against the milestones that you have already outlined. Due to the fact that you can easily monitor the project while it is going on, you will be much calmer during the process.
b. It allows you to get enough rest: managing your time effectively will allow you to get a good night rest. It also prevents you from having to take time off in other to unwind because you have already rested properly when you should have done so. With effective time management, you can complete the assignment you have at your work place, enjoy your personal life and still have a sound sleep.
c. It helps to prevent feeling overwhelmed: it is not unusual to feel overwhelmed when you try to start a project, especially if there are other smaller projects that still need your attention. By managing your time properly, you will be able to prioritize the most important task and thus feel more in control of the situation.
One of the best reasons to improve your time management is to avoid stress. However, no matter how well you manage your time, you will inevitable feel some form of stress from time to time. Here are the common symptoms of poor stress and time management:
- Increased feeling of irritability
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Loss of sleep
- Physical disorders such as headaches, rashes, itches, cramps et al
However, the truth still remains that none of the aforementioned methods will proffer a lasting solution because pushing yourself to your limit will only burn you out faster and will get your stressed up even faster.
Here is the good news; you can get better at time management. Paying attention to how you spend your time will help you to manage it more effectively. Here are a few tips that will help you to manage your time at work in order to effectively reduce stress.
How to Effectively Manage your Time at Work to Reduce Stress
1. Make use of planners: some people still cling to the belief that planning their time just takes up the time that they could have dedicated to more important issues. This is however very far from the truth. Planners are very useful tools for time management.
In order to use them effectively, you should first put in all regularly scheduled appointments, then add other things that need to be done at a certain times but are not set in stone. Next, you should add other tasks that must be completed during the week and add in some recovery, relaxation and social time because they are very important if you want to live a stress free life.
2. Prioritize: the ability to prioritize is really important in order to achieve effective time management and minimize stress. There are many ways to prioritize tasks one of which is the ABC method.
Here, you will have to create three lists. The A list includes tasks that are urgent. The B list should include tasks that must be done but are not so time sensitive and the C list should include tasks that you will like to get done but are not time sensitive.
You can also prioritize tasks in terms of impact versus effort. High impact but low effort task will be a quick win whereas high impact and high effort tasks are your major projects.
Yet another way to prioritize is to look at urgency versus importance. Task that are urgent and important should be given the highest priority while tasks that are not urgent and not important are generally considered as time wasters and may not be even worth engaging in.
3. Control procrastination: procrastination simply means habitually putting off tasks that you can just do right away. For most people, the more stressful, time consuming or undesirable a task is, the more likely that they will try to procrastinate it to a future date.
People also procrastinate because of the lack knowledge or skills to do a particular task. Fear of the unknown, evaluation anxiety (the fear that you will not complete the task well enough) are also some of the reasons why people procrastinate. This however only succeeds in making the person even more stressed up as the backlog of tasks increases. So how do we overcome procrastination? We can do that by:
- Breaking up large tasks into smaller and more manageable pieces: For example, if you have a project that will take you about 4 hours to complete. You can break up your work into one hour blocks over a day or even a couple of days. Difficult task are easier to face if you are giving them just a brief amount of your time.
- Make use of the five minute plan: tell yourself that you will only work on the task for five minutes, once you get going, you will notice that you will likely go beyond the five minute mark.
- Create short-term deadlines: having a short term deadline will help to habitually meet your deadlines. It will force you to always get things done and by this way, when you are faced with a long-term deadline, you will not have as much pressure and work built up.
- Avoid trying to be perfect: perfectionism is one quality that can never be attained, yet trying to constantly achieve it will always leave you stress up. Your ultimate focus should always be to do your best; giving yourself enough time to do your best will ultimately reduce your stress levels.
- Goal setting: by reviewing your goals and keeping your eye on the price, you will see the importance of what you are doing. Try to create goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time bound.
- Make use of the Pomodoro method: here you decide on a task that you need to accomplish. Then you set your timer for 25 minutes. During this period, work on the task until the timer rings. Take a brief three to five minutes break. After four cycles begin taking longer breaks of fifteen to thirty minutes.
4. Manage your commitments: having too many or even not enough commitments can lead to stress. Letting go of some commitments that you may have does not necessarily mean that you are giving up.
What it means is that you know what is important to you, the limit of the task you can accomplish and you are able to decide how you want to spend the time you have in order to be at a level of maximum productivity. Do not be quick to commit to things that are not important to you.
5. If possible, delegate: trying to do everything by yourself or trying to be at all places at the same time can quickly burnout an individual. It important to note that no matter how competent an entrepreneur or an employee is, he/she cannot do every task.
Instead of trying to micromanage tasks, it is better to delegate excess duties to competent members of the staff. This is where an efficient team comes in. By spreading out the work more evenly, everyone will get fewer duties and as such will be more efficient and productive.
Also, it is advantageous to distinguish between when you can help and where you are needed. Experienced leaders learn that the latter is more important than the former.
6. Learn about signs that could indicate that you are under stress or that you are having difficulty in managing your time. You can ask your friends, family members or colleagues to tell you signs that they see when you are under stress.
7. Managing your time takes getting used to. You can practice asking yourself the simple question; “is this what I should be doing now?” if yes, them continue doing it.
8. Avoid time wasters: avoid time wasters in the work place because they are guaranteed to always pull you back and prevent you from achieving your task. Some of those time wasters include;
- Interruption: interruptions will always be part of the work place, yet, it is the manner in which you handle them that will tell if it will actually result in time wastage.
- Poor delegation skills: trying to accomplish a lot of things by yourself will only result in wastage of time that could have been better put to use in other endeavours.
- Gadgets: communication gadgets are really important in the work place, but if not properly managed, mobile phones, music player and computers et al. can quickly turn into a huge source of distraction and ultimately result in wastage of time.
- Socializing with co-workers: socializing with your co-worker is necessary for a healthy work environment, yet, you should bear in mind that you were not employed in the organization to socialize with others. Limit the amount of time you spend discussing with your colleagues and face your work.
In conclusion, stress is a very common occurrence in the work place thanks to the dynamic nature of the work place and the ever increasing work load of the average worker. But there is still hope on how to be able to live a fulfilling work and personal live devoid of stress.
The truth will always remain that there will always be a lot to do with not enough time or energy to attend to them all. Yet, if you learn how to effectively manage your time, you will be able to simplify your life.