Our time is precious. Once it is gone, it is something we can never get back. At times, it may even feel like we just don’t have enough time, or a project deadline sneaks up on us and we can feel overwhelmed. It can stress us out, which leads to another array of problems like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and can even your mood and outlook on life. With these tips, you can help yourself avoid unnecessary stress.
Create a Calendar
Calendars are a great tool that has been updated with the use of technology. You can view calendars on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Various calendars can be made for work tasks, meetings, personal errands, and even travel. They can be shared with others and categorized with different colors and most calendars will send reminders of when a task or a meeting is coming up.
To be successful in managing your time, you need to know how you spend it and prioritize your day. Creating a Time Accountability Log can be very helpful. Chart how you spend your time without changing your pattern for a week or two. Then review to see where you can free up time and see where time might be wasted on menial responsibilities. Also, try to identify your “Prime Time”. Is it in the morning? Is it early afternoon? Use this time to tackle your difficult and important tasks.
Eliminate Productivity Destroyers
Disorganization, poor planning, and procrastination are some of the biggest productivity destroyers. Disorganization is a huge time waster. It causes stress which can lead to more disorganization and more stress. You can break this cycle by organizing your work. Use folders to organize files on your computer to store them in easy to find places. Label and color code folders on your desk and in the file cabinets. Plan your day wisely and plan ahead. Make sure your plans are also realistic and you don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling an overwhelming amount of tasks. Also, avoid procrastination. Waiting until the last minute is stressful and unproductive. Try and tackle jobs you don’t like ahead of time so you can be done with them and focus on other things.
Sometimes we are in such a hurry, when a supervisor, manager, or client asks us to take on a task, we automatically assume it is urgent and important and drop everything we are doing to complete it. When in reality, that may not be the case at all. Stop putting out fires and clarify the urgency and create a real deadline. Ask questions like:
- When do you need this by?
- Which task do you want me to complete first?
- Is it okay to push back the task I am working on now?
- Is there any room for flexibility if issues come up?
- Is it okay if I assign this to …..?
- Have you made a time commitment to someone else?
When creating your schedule, do so wisely. Do not schedule tasks for longer than 90 minutes. Studies show most people tend to lose interest after this amount of time. Make sure you leave blank spaces into your schedule. This way if a task is longer than expected, or something urgent comes up, you can fit it into your day without stressing about it. Use a task management software to help you stay on track with your own projects and team projects. Also be sure to schedule a lunch and stick to it. People who block out a certain time and give themselves a mental break have less stress and are more productive. Most importantly, do not waste time making a schedule if you do not plan to use it.
By using a few of these strategies, you can run your days more smoothly, find some free time and be more focused and productive on your business and life. Reduce your stress, stay healthy and be happy.
By Ashley Davis