Manage Stress By Taking Control of Your Time
By Dr. Peggy Malone
I know that you are a busy person juggling running a business or managing a career and family/friend time and life.
Let me ask you something. Do any or all of the following statements resonate with you?
- I feel overwhelmed
- I have too many things to do and I’ll never get to the end of my To-Do list.
- I’m too busy
- I’m always rushing from one thing to the next
- I feel like I’m constantly just putting out fires and not really accomplishing anything
In our modern day hustle bustle lives we are all busier than ever and it seems like there is just not enough time or energy to get it all done.
It creates obvious challenges for work and loved ones but the challenge that it creates from a health perspective is STRESS.
And stress will kill you.
Stress is a major player in every chronic degenerative disease that lead to most of our deaths in this modern age.
So… it’s important (really important) to learn how to reduce and manage stress.
We have talked about this in previous posts in a more general way but in today’s article, I want to address some specific time management skills that will not only increase your productivity (yay!) but will also have important health benefits by helping you to reduce your stress levels.
On a personal note, this is something that I have gone back to and done some re-evaluation in my own life because I haven’t been respecting my time and I have been experiencing some stress as a result. It is my hope that by sharing some of the things that I’m doing to get back on track, you will find some tidbits to help you too!
Here’s the basic formula to what I’m about to share:
Better Management of Time = Decreased Stress = Increased Quality of Life
And don’t forget the bonus of increased productivity!
So here are some things to get your life in line with the equation above:
Be Clear on Your Priorities:
Ask yourself, “What do I want my life to look like”, then look around and see if what your life actually looks like matches your vision. If it does… awesome… if it doesn’t, it’s time to first identify and then shift around your priorities.
When identifying and shifting your priorities, it’s extremely important to learn to say ‘No’. Check out my post on the ‘Disease to Please’ for more information.
Have a Plan:
I love the Lewis Carroll quote from Alice in Wonderland which says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. We have discussed goal setting in previous posts but let’s get a little more specific for today’s topic.
My business coach tells me that we should be planning for a 12 month period but then working in 60 day increments.
So for practical purposes, have a big calendar on your wall with your goals for the year and then have a smaller calendar with the next 60 days on it.
If you can clearly see what is required each day for the next 60 days, you are more likely to stay focused on each day instead of procrastinating and thinking that you have soooo much time. (Let me give you a tip… you don’t.)
The next practical piece here is to have a plan for each week and then for each day. At the end of each day, write down what needs to be accomplished the following day to get you to your 60 day goal. At the end of each week, make a list of things that need to be accomplished the following week.
By breaking it down in this way, you will be much more likely to complete your tasks and get to your 60 day goal. At which point… you celebrate and then lay out the next 60 days.
Prioritize your Daily and Weekly Tasks:
I still struggle with this one because I am an excellent procrastinator from way back but I love Brian Tracy’s approach from his amazing book ‘Eat That Frog’. Tackle the biggest and most important task first thing in the week/morning that will get you closer to your goal. After you have tackled that task, move on to the next most important task on the list… not just the next thing on the list.
Set a Timer:
This is one that has really helped me to stay focused because I have a bad habit of getting sucked into Facebook or getting distracted and lured down various internet rabbit holes. To help keep you on task and focused, set a timer for 15 minutes or 30 minutes and then work hard to get your task finished in that time period. I am a bit competitive so I find this one fun to race against the clock to finish the next task on my list. A great side effect of this practice is that the more you do this, the better you will become at estimating how long things take.
Set Boundaries to Limit Distractions:
For those of you, who like me, work in a home office, this means setting office hours and sticking to them. No sleeping in and then getting started whenever you feel like it. Take it seriously and get started when your hours start. Make an ‘Office Hours’ sign and put it on your office door to remind you of when to be in the office.
This one works both ways too! If you have a tendency to stay in your office late at night and ignore your family… it’s time to work more productively during the hours you have set and then leave the office at night.
Another way to set boundaries is to set time limits for social media and internet surfing so that you don’t get lost in Facebook or some random YouTube video and then never get to your important tasks. This is a good place to use a timer as well.
One more boundary that is worth mentioning, for those who work in a home office is with regard to social visits. You know those neighbours or family members who don’t think you really work and drop by unexpectedly to visit or chat. These kind of visits should be scheduled. Put a sign on your door letting them know when you are available and then stick to your boundaries.
Get up Early and Move Your Body:
This one is one that I am really challenged by. I really love to sleep and getting up early to exercise is NOT my favourite thing. That said, everything that I have read about successful people tells me that they get up early and they exercise.
This practice will give you more time in the day, will decrease your stress levels and will help you to be more productive.
I am working hard toward instilling this as a daily habit. I will keep working at it using the force of determination and I hope you will too!! You will see great benefits to your health and your business!
Take a Break and Move Your Body Throughout the Day:
Including hourly movement breaks will improve all aspects of your health while helping to reduce physical and mental stress. It will give you something to look forward to and your body will thank you. Set a timer and wiggle your butt regularly 🙂
Consider Working With a Health and Wellness Coach:
If it all seems too overwhelming in your current situation to implement these tips on your own… it’s time to ask for help. Having someone to direct you and support you and hold you accountable can be extremely beneficial! Click here to get support.