Time management tips to reduce stress
Stress management involves controlling and reducing the tension that occurs in stressful situations by making emotional and physical changes. The degree of stress and the desire to make the changes will determine how much improvement takes place. Monique Harrisberg, doyen of voice and communication training in South-Africa and CEO of the Voice and Stress Clinic gives some valuable tips for time management to help you reduce your stress.
Create a balanced schedule:
“Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout, explains Harrisberg. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.
Don’t over-commit yourself:
“Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. All too often, we underestimate how long things will take,” says Harrisberg. “If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “should” and the “must.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
Try to leave earlier in the morning:
Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing to your desk and having time to ease into your day. Harrisberg adds, “Don’t add your stress levels by running late.”
Plan regular breaks:
Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk or sit and clear your mind. Also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. “Stepping away from work to briefly relax and recharge will help you be more, not less, productive,” explains Harrisberg.
Prioritize tasks: make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order of importance. Do the high-priority items first. If you have something particularly unpleasant to do, get it over with early. The rest of your day will be more pleasant as a result
Break project into small steps: if a large project seems overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once.
“You don’t have to do it all yourself. If other people can take care of the task, why not let them?” says Harrisberg. Let go of the desire to control or oversee every little step. You’ll be letting go of unnecessary stress in the process.
Be willing to compromise:
When you ask someone to contribute differently to a task, revise a deadline, or change their behaviour at work, be willing to do the same. “Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned,” Harrisberg concludes.