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How to Reduce Stress by Having Better Time Management

  Written by Kerry Watts

Poor time management isn't an entirely modern phenomenon, but we do seem to have a lot more plates to spin these days. Where there used to be four TV channels, a working week, family, and hobbies, now there's On Demand, round the clock working - from anywhere - and a world that's constantly tugging at us via high speed wi-fi. This is all highly demanding of our attention, so it's no wonder that it can be hard to sort the priorities from the junk.

People who manage their time inefficiently not only feel as though they've got more on their plate than they can ever tackle, they've most likely got far higher stress levels than those to whom prioritizing comes naturally. Because poor time management and stress coexist. They influence each other in a cyclical manner - stress causing you to lose focus and flounder, poor time management raising your stress levels. And so the cycle goes on.

Stress and disorganization share the same foundation; feeling out of control. So it goes without saying that if you can learn to take better control of your circumstances, you'll feel less stressed.

Historically, good time management emphasized the importance of "getting things done", above all else. More recently, a shifting mindset - in favor of quality, not quantity - has us asking ourselves; "what's really valuable to my overall happiness?". This is an important step towards helping us re-balance our hectic lives and allocate our precious time where we really want to, rather than where we feel we ought to.

Old efficiency models of time management aren't for everyone now. In fact, they can have a detrimental effect on stress levels, since they tend to leave us pulling overtime to tick boxes - or beating ourselves up when we don't make it through our list. So, with proper training, how can taking better charge of our time reduce stress?

1. We spend less time rushing around

We've all been late for things. And some people are late more often than others. When lateness becomes a common theme in our lives though, it starts to impede our overall well-being. Because thinking you're about to miss a flight, for example, causes the stress hormones to rise - sweaty palms, dry mouth, pounding heart - and too much of that stress reaction places strain on our body's systems.

Learning to maximize the time you have so that you get to leave on time for things means that you don't have to adopt a "fight or flight" approach to every train journey, dinner or airport check-in. Sounds simple when put like that, doesn't it?

2. We feel clearer about our goals

Indecision and, further to it, the inability to think long term are a significant consequence of poor time management, and they take a toll on our peace of mind. Not being able to set meaningful goals leads to stagnation and, once in that cycle, it can be a real struggle to regain focus.

Having no aim leads to helplessness, so adopting systems which allow us to compartmentalize things a bit more is a huge step towards decluttering our minds and allowing us to regain some clarity of purpose. All too often we lose sight of our goals simply because they're obscured from view.

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3. We can feel motivated by our progress

Unless we have a defined set of "to dos", which (with proper time management!) we can see shrinking, how do we ever know how far we've come? Disorganization is a big demotivator. It overwhelms and clouds our view of our achievements - leading to anxiety and sleepless nights whilst we grapple to remember what we've got left to do.

If we have a means of managing our time which gives us a working record of our "dos" and "dones", we can feel rewarded with each little achievement. Every positive self-reinforcement is a mood boost.

In fact, why not build some rewards into your goals, so that you do specifically reward yourself as you achieve things, which WILL motivate you even more?

4. We have more energy

One of the things about chaos is that it needs a lot more energy than calm. The great meditative masters can manifest such calmness that they barely have to take a breath! So better time management not only gives us back control of our lives and promotes inner calm, it gives us the energy to be able to make the most of those things we've chosen to allocate our time to.

5. Our relationships thrive

It's an unfortunate fact that poor time management places a real strain on our personal and professional relationships. And considering that relationship difficulties are one of the leading causes of stress in our modern world, it certainly pays to take care of the bonds we have.

This isn't just about being late for dinner. The negative effect that poor time management can have on our self-esteem, and the inability for us to make decisions and set long term goals, places a burden on our close relationships which can lead to deep fractures, if we can't get a handle on it on some point. Taking control of our time makes us a more positive, decisive and reliable person to be around.

6. We're able to enjoy a good night's sleep

One of the problems with modern life and its multitude of demands is that there often "aren't enough hours in the day." What happens then is that we "borrow" a couple of hours from our night to make up the deficit. And when we're not consciously up at night cramming, we're subconsciously working through our list in bed, instead of getting some much needed rest.

Humans aren't designed to function well on less than 7 or 8 hours sleep a night, certainly not in the long term anyway. Feeling frazzled leads to not coping, then we're well on the path to elevated stress levels. So cracking the code of good time management is essential in restoring a healthy sleep pattern and minimizing stress.

The good news for all of us is that poor time management is habitual, and that means that it can be changed with just a little bit of practice.

Want to Manage your Stress Better?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $229 – limited time offer just $49



[general ref] Time Management To Prevent Stress:

[general ref] Understanding Stress Related to Time Management:

[general ref] How Time Management Can Help Reduce Stress:
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