Time Pressure and Stress

This is the 4th in my series of time management techniques. These are the others, in case you missed them.

stress-time-px_250Stress 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:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • 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 is a very interesting and more in-depth guide on the Cortisol Hormone: Its Role In Stress.

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.

Here's a helpful article from Positive Psychology explaining the benefits of mental health, and tips to realize the benefits.

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.

Updated Sept 2019: Stress is a killer - tools and tips to help time management at work. Click To Tweet

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.
  • 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.
  • press-teamOutsource 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?
  • Internet Marketing NewsletterA bigger and more important task I outsourced was producing a monthly Internet Marketing newsletter that keeps my readers and I up-to-date with trends online AND gives me great quality material for this blog AND is an income generator in its own right. You could do the same – click here to see how to save time on Content Marketing. (aff link)

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.

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I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Kim Willis - May 30, 2016

Hi Joy,

Time management is so important. It’s so easy to get distracted by non-essential activities. Even wasting half an hour a day equates to 15 hours a month. That’s 15 hours we’ll never get back.

One of your tips that caught my eye was to schedule each day. This is a good one. I do my scheduling the night before and it does help me to keep on track. Sure, unexpected events will sometimes intrude, but if we have a schedule complete with checklists, it won’t take long to get back on track again.

Good one, Joy


    Joy - May 31, 2016

    Hi Kim,

    Making a list / schedule the night before is a great idea to mentally prepare yourself.

    Apart from the tasks that need to be done daily usually my “list” is just a scrap of paper that I prop up on my keyboard as a brief prompt to remind me of the “big” task for the day. That works pretty well for me.

    I’m feeling a little guilty over this “holiday weekend” because the time did rather get away from me, BUT I mopped up several jobs that I’d written on the scrap of paper. There’s just one that’s still nagging at me, so I’ll write it on my paper and make sure it’s the first thing I see in the morning.

    For longer term schedules I add tasks to my Google Calendar then if a day’s job does slip it’s easy to just move it on to the next day and get the schedule back on track.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Robin Khokhar - May 31, 2016

Hi Joy,
It’s a very nice. Sometimes stress leads us to the worse conditions in our life, so it important to evaluate it and also thanks for sharing about Rescue time Tool. I will be taking a look at it.

    Joy - May 31, 2016

    Hi Robin,

    Stress can indeed lead to serious illness – especially as we age.

    I hope you enjoy using Rescue Time. I had to smile because I have been on holiday, so didn’t use my computer for a couple of weeks – unheard of! When I got back, I had a message from Rescue Time “hoping that I had been off enjoying adventures”. Nice touch, I though.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Igert - June 2, 2016

Hi Joy

Some very good points here. Planning is always the secret to get anything done smoothly. Starting your day with the plan already in place is a great motivator.

I like your approach of batch processing certain tasks especially article writing. Some days the words just flow better than others and when you are on a roll it is not wise to interrupt yourself. It also has the advantage that you free yourself for longer periods in order to concentrate on other activities.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Joy - June 3, 2016

    Hi Igert,

    Welcome to my blog, I am so pleased you found me and I hope you will find plenty of helpful information here:-)

    I’m glad you found the tips useful.

    Another task I feel lends itself very well to batch-processing is blog commenting. You’ll see I’m replying to your comment quite a while after you made it:-)

    Much as I would like to be able to stick to a pre-made plan I tend to be at the mercy of my off-line clients, so with the best will in the world, the plans don’t always work out. Of course, that doesn’t stop me having a plan – I just have to remind myself not to be too depressed if I have to move onto something different.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Louis Lh. - June 4, 2016

This is exactly what we have to do as business owner otherwise, we’re just wondering around and always keep asking ourselves why we have not got what we wanted.

    Joy - June 5, 2016

    Hi Louis,

    That’s right – and if we feel like that, we get more and more stressed!

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

ikechi - June 4, 2016

Hi Joy

This is a timely post as I seem to be overwhelmed with activities. Thses are great ideas to increase productivity. I will try them out.

Thank you for sharing this post. Take Care

    Joy - June 5, 2016

    Hi Ikechi,

    Have to confess it doesn’t take much to tip me into my “overwhelm mode” – which is not a pretty sight.

    So I’ve written this series as much as reminder for myself. I hope we BOTH manage to increase our productivity through better tim management.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Basharath - June 5, 2016

You have well written the article about time pressure and stress which has become one of the common things that is ailing people of this generation. And it has to be controlled at any cost. Thank you for you tips.


    Joy - June 5, 2016

    Hi Basharath, I’m sure that life is more stressful than when I was younger – and it’s definitely not a good thing 🙁

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Donna Merrill - June 5, 2016

Hi Joy,

I love to make lists and stick to them. Time management is so important to me. But….this week I goofed up so badly. It was so beautiful outside and it is a time where I can enjoy the beach where I live before the tourists flood the area. I spent most of my days there with my husband.

Then there was the yard and gardens…. I searched all over to get matching color orange annuals to sprinkle around the property. Yes..I may sound nuts, but it was a labor of love. I also had an advantage of cool Summer evenings, and got swept away walking the dogs.

So here I am, late in my response to you. And you know what? I had stressful evenings all week. This is what happens when we don’t follow our plan and don’t use our time wisely. So I have to share that every night this week, it was difficult falling asleep because in the back of my mind I had the “shoulds” … Yes This is what happens when we goof off for a while and have to play catch up.

I love this series because I usually am pretty good about my time and write in hours or days where I can go out to play. But I didn’t this week. So there you have it.

Thanks for putting me on track again.


    Joy - June 6, 2016

    Hi Donna,

    Don’t beat yourself up 🙂 I think “time spent exercising in fresh air with husband and dogs and garden and beach” sounds like a VERY important element of your to-do list.

    Relaxing and recharging our batteries is something so many home-based entrepreneurs forget. I know I find it difficult to stop at night, usually thinking that I can just do “one more thing” then suddenly it’s 2am. It’s not good for me, I know – although I do my best work after 6pm when the interruptions are fewer. However, I am now blocking “nice things” into my calendar and committing to them with other people so that I can’t easily get out of them for work reasons.

    I suspect home-based entrepreneurs fall into two categories: those who are so laid back because they work from home that they never get started on the real work; and those that I am sure you may fall into: dedicated and disciplined. So – let’s BOTH make sure R&R are on our “to-do” list. To show I’m keeping my part of it, just back from a lovely meal out with my son and daughter-in-law, and will be visiting my Dad for his 94th birthday later in the week.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Chiro - July 9, 2016

Hi, Joy and Thank you sharing this fabulous Article. The way you explained the whole things is quite necessary for all late night bloggers like us.

reena debbarma - July 27, 2016

Hi Joy,

Time management is the main factor that every person business should learn before starting into the a business.

Thanks for your valuable informative post.

Comments are closed