Time Pressure and Stress
This is the 4th in my series of time management techniques. These are the others, in case you missed them.
- Introduction To Simple Time Management Tips
- Save Time By Getting Organized
- Time Management Can Improve Your Income
- Time Management For The Home-Based Entrepreneur
Stress and Time Pressure
Do you always feel as if you're trying to beat the clock?
I'm focusing in this article on those who are stressed because they have too much work to handle, and aiming to show how you can increase productivity and alleviate unnecessary stress by adopting sound time management skills.
If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed while working, it's time to make some changes.
You can't do your best work or make good decisions when you're stressed, and those in the work-place should realise this – managers and workers alike.
The Effects of Stress on Your Health
It's not just the quality of your work that can suffer if you're stressed because you're working under time pressure.
Stress is a killer. According to the Mayo Clinic here are some of the ill-effects of stress on health:
- Poor digestion as the fight or flight mechanism diverts energy from digestive processes
- Heart disease
- Loss of sleep
- Tension headaches / migraines
- Weight gain may result from poor food choices
- Impaired memory and concentration
Sometimes you may not even be aware that you're damaging your health, but the effects of stress can be cumulative.
Here, from one of my favorite bloggers, Edward Thorpe, are some natural techniques to beat stress and anxiety.
For the sake of your health, use these effective time management techniques to help you settle into a productive routine and reduce stress from your daily activities.
Try them all to see what suits you best. Some will may work for you better than others and you may find unexpectedly helpful results. Be flexible. You can easily discard the techniques you don't care for and adapt the others to suit your daily needs.
Stress is a killer - tools and tips to help time management at work.
Reducing Time Pressure And Stress At Work
- Keep a daily work flow journal to evaluate how you're spending your time. You're more apt to uncover time-wasting activities when they're written down.
- Alternatively, install time tracking software on your PC. I use the free version of: Rescue Time (aff link).
- Schedule your day. At the end of each workday, write out a list of tasks to complete for the next day. Spend adequate time rearranging the tasks from the most to least important. Some projects are more important than others; apply your efforts to gain the best outcome.
- Set a time limit, not just for the whole task, but for portions of the work. For example, if you need to input figures into a PC and file the paperwork, perform the data entry today and save the filing for tomorrow.
- Reduce distractions. Close the office door, shut off the cell phone and close down the browser. Every second you spend away from your planned day means less work is getting done.
- Say no and stick to your plan. Don't take on any new clients until you've taken care of existing customers. Politely decline and relate why it's impossible to deviate from your plan.
- Take necessary breaks, often. Sitting hunched over a desk, staring at a computer screen can take a toll on anybody. Learn to relax for a few minutes get up and walk away as needed. Grab a drink, stretch, or step outside for some fresh air. These simple activities will counteract stiffness and neck strain.
- Feeling drowsy? You may benefit from a fifteen minute “power nap”. If it makes you more efficient afterwards, it's time well spent.
- Challenge your abilities. Use a timer set for short spurts of time (about 10-15 minutes) and work feverishly to beat the clock. Sometimes all we need is a little challenge to get us motivated and keep on track.
- Break bigger tasks into smaller jobs. Plan out a weekly schedule where bigger tasks are divided into smaller jobs. Delegate a portion of the work to a virtual assistant. This allows you to chip away at larger projects.
- Batch processing of certain tasks. For instance, I wrote this whole series of articles over 2 two day period, which meant I had several weeks blog posts scheduled ahead of time. I process my accounts 3 months at a time.
- Outsource some work. It's not imperative that you do everything yourself. Share the workload with others. Internet markets often outsource tasks to a third party; learn to do the same. A few months ago I was stressed beyond measure by the time I was spending trying to fix my hacked blog (when actually I didn't have a clue how to do it!) I finally out-sourced it to the team at Pressidium Managed WordPress Hosting, freed up my time for blogging, and put aside a whole load of stress. Compared to the time I was wasting, it was a remarkably affordable investment of a few extra dollars a month.
- Enroll in a time management course.
- Apply common sense – are you (or your boss) really being realistic with their expectations of what you can complete in the allocated time?
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I hope the above tips will help you reduce your stress from time pressure at work.
How do YOU manage time and stress at work? Please share in the comments below.