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When 24 Hours are Just Not Enough: Time Management Techniques to Decrease Stress

| Articles | February 7, 2014

Today’s oft repeated expression is that there are just not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. This holds true for most people who are busy juggling the demands of a job, family, chores, and other commitments. They are constantly under pressure to fulfill all the roles that have been thrust upon them, and this leaves them vulnerable to stress. And while pressure is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated, excessive amounts can lead to stress. This undermines individual performance and productivity, and is costly to employers when the employees become ill.

We are all subjected to stress on a daily basis, largely as a consequence of modern living. The effects of stress on our bodies differ greatly from person to person, largely dependent on the amount we have in our lives and how we handle it. There are a number of health problems that can be directly or indirectly attributed to stress, which manifests itself in any number of physical or psychological symptoms. These symptoms are often ignored until it seriously affects our health and wellbeing.

Stress is basically our body’s negative response to the pressures of life. The concept of stress was defined by Hans Selye as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” He also identified the two kinds of stressors, positive and negative, which he called eustress and distress respectively. Eustress is a positive stressor that come with situations that are perceived to be happy or good, such as weddings, childbirth or big family holidays. Distress is a negative stressor derived from situations that are traumatizing or unhappy, such as the death of a loved one or an accident. But whether the situation is positive or negative, this rate of wear and tear we subject ourselves to eventually takes its toll on our bodies, and how we deal with the stress is important.

One great way to reduce stress in your life is through time management. It helps you avoid the pitfalls of overextending ourselves by cramming too much work in too little time, which often leaves you too exhausted to successfully accomplish the tasks at hand. Planning each day can help you feel more in control of our life, minimizing scheduling conflicts and rushing at the last-minute. The latter often results in substandard, sloppy work that will only make you look lackadaisical.

The first step in time management is to evaluate how you’re spending your time, looking for pockets of time that can be used more wisely. The next thing is to prioritize, which ensures that your time and energy are spent on truly important tasks. This also entails saying no to nonessential tasks and learning how to delegate the work to others. The job may not be done exactly as you would do it, but that does not mean that it wasn’t done correctly or without imagination. It also takes more time overall to correct mistakes after doing inferior work. Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks so that they become less daunting. More importantly, take a break when needed. Stress can affect your health so you must make sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise so you can go back to work with improved focus and concentration. This will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time. By following these steps, you can finally have the time for the more precious things in life.

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