“Stress is the negative whirlwind of emotions that gets imposed on top of our stimulation and engagement.”
Andrew J. Bernstein
I’m commencing the New Year with a conversation during the month of January looking at Albrecht’s Four Types of Stress. Each week I’ll discuss one of the four types of stress that affect our lives in some way and how to better manage these common pressures.
Time, invariably the lack of it, is one common thread that appears to connect those who find themselves suffering from stress. Most stressed people are ‘time poor’.
Time management is easy for some of us in life and difficult for others. For me personally, it is a major stressor that I have to constantly work on each day in my life. I constantly find that I have too much day and not enough time to complete the daily schedule I have set myself. I constantly need to come up with innovative solutions.
In life, whether it’s a stay at home parent or a corporate executive, worrying about deadlines or rushing to avoid being late to collect the kids from school or making an important meeting can be a major stressor.
Ways to Manage Time Stress
- Create To-Do Lists for your daily tasks with time lines. Be realistic!
- Create an Action Program for managing several tasks at the same time
- Allow more time than you anticipate is needed. I call this my ‘Contingency Time‘ and it is a huge stress reduction tool.
- Prioritisation helps you separate tasks that you need to focus on now from those you can safely put off to another day.
- Check your energy levels, are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? Once you identify which it is, load your day accordingly so your production is high when you are really feeling ‘switched on’.
- Your energy levels will assist you in either starting your day early and finishing early, or starting late and finishing late. You choose.
- Using the magic word NO! Declining certain tasks that can be better handled by others or handled by you at a later time, becomes very empowering. Being NICE does not serve you if it creates stress in your life.
You are now ready to start your own personal time enrichment plan to see time stress as a thing of the past.
This blog was written by John Hinwood and republished here with his kind permission. See more at: Stress to Strength.
Effective time management is so important in today’s hectic modern society.
People are constantly on the go dealing with so many different priorities all the time. Particularly with the dominance of smart phone technology, it can be difficult to ever really switch off and have separation between work and personal life.
Because of this, we often feel like we are constantly in a juggling act of impossible multi-tasking just to get everything done. While it can feel productive to do many tasks at once, it is actually degenerative to mental and physical health to multitask too often.
In fact, moving from task to task can actually mean that you are being less productive. We think that we are saving time by doing a million things at once, but this can actually be slowing us down. Each task that we set out to achieve requires a specific mindset. Doing multiple tasks at once can hinder this thought process. It is much better to pay your bills, and then attend to the emails waiting for you. Otherwise the thought processes can intersect and confuse the understanding of the task. For example, if you have four bills to pay and seven emails to reply to, you have eleven tasks. Ordering these tasks 1 – 11 sets out a structured pattern on how to attend to each task. Jumping from task 3 to 6 then back to 1 and then to 11 confuses the order and requires more energy and concentration to remember the step you are up to. A distracted mind can often lead to more mistakes, which is exactly what we want to avoid. There is a real cost to your productivity when you keep switching tasks.
Quite often, the reason we multitask is because we see a back log of tasks that are waiting for us and we stress. Of course it is natural to stress when sorting out so many different aspects of life. But if you think that trying to type a text while unpacking the groceries and thinking about the household chores that need be done is going to reduce stress, it might be time to think again. Breaking time down into categories and sections is more effective than multitasking. Give different tasks a certain priority number and attend to them in order. Ultimately, each task on your mind isn’t going anywhere. You can try to scramble three tasks at the one time, but it doesn’t save time. If you do each task properly and take it one step at a time, you’re still completing the same three things. The only difference is that the latter approach means you can focus properly and not feel completely frazzled about doing three things at once.
So next time you’re trying to text and walk or flicking through twenty tabs open on your internet browser, have a think about what you’re really do. Take time to do one task properly and dedicate your energy to one thing at a time to really get the best out of everything. After all, you want to live in the real world, to be mindful, to be present and enjoy the moments of life without being caught up and stressed about doing everything at once!
I very much want to hear your thoughts and feedback on multitasking, please add your comments below.