Better Time Management For Stress Relief

Why is better time management so important? For most of us, the stress of battling traffic to get somewhere on time is well known.

Meeting deadlines is another major cause of stress that is common to students, professionals of all types, and most people.

So if all the demands of life are stressing you out, what’s a quick and effective method of stress relief?

Getting organized and giving yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go or to complete projects can make a big difference to your stress levels. It can also improve your physical, mental and emotional health.

By planning ahead, you can make the best use of your time and avoid high stress situations. A simple way to do this is to make a list of what you have to do by a given date then break each goal down into action steps that also have deadlines for completion.

As you complete each step, you can cross it off and you can see that you are on your way to meeting your deadline.

Instead of being stressed by the demands on you, you can relax and feel in control. Of course, you will feel even more stressed if you set action steps and then don’t complete them. So the key to using planning to manage your stress, is to create reasonable and achievable goals with appropriate deadlines leading to your major goal. This is fundamental to success in time management.

Of course, we don’t really manage time, we can only manage our activities during time. As David Allen observed in a 2001 interview, “You can’t manage time, it just is.” However, often our ability to work effectively towards our goals is not totally in our control.

An important aspect of time management is learning how to minimize interruptions from other people and problems that take you off task.

Establishing clear boundaries with other people is an important first step. Let friends and colleagues know when you are available to them and when you cannot be disturbed. This can be very hard to achieve if you work from home, are a mother with constant and immediate demands placed on you, or you have a job with constant interruptions and unreasonable expectations. You need to protect your health and well being by creating reasonable boundaries. If you don’t, stress can encroach on every area of your life.

A major, if not the major, cause of stress in people is to feel a lack of control over your life. If you are given the responsibility to do something but cannot control your ability to actually work towards it, you will probably get very stressed. Therefore, an important consideration if you wish to manage your time better in order to obtain stress relief is whether or not your circumstances themselves need to change.

If you have a high stress job that is poorly designed and a supervisor or manager unwilling to give you the latitude you need to do it then changing jobs may well be the best option.

If you work from home and find that you are called upon to do non-work related tasks far too often, you may need to take the phone off the hook, park the car in the garage and not answer the door.

Busy mothers may need to organize childcare or pay for home help in order to achieve some of their more important deadlines.

The key is to be flexible and to be willing to make whatever changes are necessary to achieve your goals with minimal stress.

High levels of chronic stress affect our health and our ability to function optimally. Rather than motivating us to succeed, stress can affect our immune and nervous systems causing physical, emotional and mental symptoms. More than anything it reduces our quality of life.

Time management can play an integral role in controlling stress in our lives while helping us to meet deadlines and achieve goals. In fact, it is probably the most underused method of stress relief available to us.

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