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Time and Stress Management:
How to Streamline Your Life
Do you feel a constant pressure to achieve?
Do you feel you haven't done enough no matter how hard you try?
Do you give up the simple pleasures in life in order to be the best in everything you do?
Do you just feel like there is not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything?
I’m sure quite a few of you have experienced these feeling, whether it be at work, home, or school. Stress and worry can be dangerous and harmful. They can cause emotional and even physical problems that could very easily damage both your health and performance. Stress has become an epidemic in the workplace. Studies suggest that 90 percent of all doctors' visits are related in some way to stress. One of the main causes for stress and worry is lack of time management skills. Today, I would like to speak to you about time and stress management, and ways that you can improve your everyday life with just a few simple tips.
With all the information out there on how to manage your time and stress it may be difficult to know where to start. We’ve all heard the typical advice: Exercise, Eat right, Get organized, Spend more time with your family, spend more time with yourself. All this can easily get confusing and some times even contradictory. Some people end up getting even more stressed out just trying to figure out what to do. Here are a few tips suggested by Gregory Smith, writer for The Small Business Journal, that I believe could work towards your advantage.
1. Handle it now. Spend 20 seconds filing that important paper now rather than 30 minutes searching for it later. Take a moment to jot down that phone number on your permanent list instead of spending ten minutes tracking it down again later.
2. Prioritize. Feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do? Stop and think: which item absolutely must be completed today? This does not include items you’d like to get
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done today, but only the item(s) that have to be completed today.
3. Be realistic. One way to set yourself up for a stressful situation is to plan an unrealistic amount of work for a particular time period. Use your common sense to recognize when you have over scheduled yourself.
4. Delegate. A person who refuses to delegate will very likely be a very busy and frustrated person.
5. Schedule time for you. Schedule a "personal time" appointment on your calendar each day. If someone wants to see you at that time, just say, "I’m sorry, I have an appointment then." Whether you use this for personal reflection or as a few quiet minutes to catch your breath or simply time to think, it’s a legitimate use of time. And you will still get as much, if not more, done.
6. Make lists. Making a list can be a legitimate time manager. Keep a pad handy to jot down projects as they arise, items that come to mind to "do later". At the end of the day or week, whichever is best for you, mark off the items handled; then, make a fresh list and prioritize the remaining items. This should take about 15 minutes each day. It can help you avoid that familiar sinking feeling when you realize you forgot something important and also help you feel "on top of things" on a daily basis while freeing your mind to concentrate on the job at hand.
7. Consider when your energy level peaks. Do you hit your highest energy level at 10am or mid-afternoon? Schedule your biggest project for your peak energy period.
8. Verify appointments before you go. Take a minute to call and verify the appointment and time before you leave the office.
9. E-mail. E-mail creates another time management problem. Answer E-mail immediately. Don’t read it and then let it pile up in your in-box. Keep your inbox clutter free. Create a "keeper" folder and transfer the e-mail you want to keep for later. Create another folder for "Actions pending." Respect other people’s time and avoid forwarding all those stories people love to send you. Delete junk E-mail without reading it. Learn to use your filters to eliminate spammers. Time is valuable, and time management can help you be more productive. There is also a bonus: it can help to relieve stress and allow you both to
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enjoy your life and work more.
The problem with all these tips though, is that some people become such a time and stress management fanatic they end up wasting more time by trying to manage it. What some people need, suggests Don Clark, at Big Dog’s Leadership Page, is to analyze how you spend your time and implement a few, not all, time saving methods that will gain them the most time.
One thing that most people don’t understand is that time is not adaptable. The number of hours in the day remains 24 and the number of hours in a week is 168 , no matter what. Time cannot be controlled but it can be managed, and the essence of time management is self-management. Once you’ve got yourself organized, then you’ll have less stressful times, and be a much better person all together. Remember, time management equals stress management.
The main reason I chose this topic, was because I’m horrible at managing my time. I work my best under stress but can not manage time to save my life. My dad on the other hand, who owns his own grocery store is very organized but can not manage his stress. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight. That is why I wanted to research what it takes to manage time and stress effectively. I’ve already applied several of the tips to my everyday life, for once I didn’t put off writing my speech until the night before. I just put it off until the last week, just kidding.
All these tips are not only useful in your everyday work life, but they can easily be applied to school. With finals coming up for many of us in the very near future, what better time to get you self together and get organized. See how much of a difference it makes.
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Babior and Goldman, (1996). Overcoming Panic, Anxiety and Phobias. La Jolla: Whole Person Press.
Clark, D. Big Dog’s Leadership Page - Time Management. [Online] Available: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadertime.html
Dubrin, A. (2000). Essentials of Management. South-Western College Publishing.
McMahon, G. Time Management for Stress Management Practitioners. [Online] Available: http://www.isma.org.uk/timemanagement.htm
Smith, G. Are You Managing Time or is Time Managing You?. [Online]. Available: http://www.tsbj.com/editorial/03041010.htm
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