You hear it every day from many people: “I don’t have the time”. Not having enough time to do everything that life and work demands of you can be quite stressful. Stress causes more inefficiency and perpetuates the cycle. Improved stress management and time management can help resolve both issues to a large degree.
Not all stress is bad. Some stress is actually due to enjoyment and adrenaline and being excited by something. Finding out the triggers for the bad stress is important as well as learning how to deal with it. Plan your day, your month, your year. While it may take a little time to sit down and do this, having a goal and focusing on a specific outcome actually reduces time wasted frivolously.
Avoid substances such as nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar that cause spikes in excess energy, which eventually lead to a drop, which negates any temporary boost you may have experienced. Being busy does not always mean that you are getting everything does that needs doing. Sometimes you need to set the priorities ahead of time so that you get through it all. Recognize when you are feeling stressed and develop coping mechanisms to deal with it.
Let’s look at some of the main causes of workplace stress:
- One of the top reasons for stress at work is hating what you do
- Poor planning and no defined goals
- Feeling like you always have too much to do, even if you don’t
- Not feeling appreciated
- No or insufficient resources to do the job effectively
- Conflicting workplace demands
What are the main issues people face when it comes to time management?
- One of the worst time wasters is constant interruptions. While interruptions are not always preventable, there are ways to manage them to reduce wasted time.
- Lack of delegation skills. Not being able to pass on work to others.
- Giving in to a lack of time management and allowing things to just happen.
Time management problems and suffering from bad stress have many symptoms in common. These include fatigue, a lack of concentration, irritability, sleeping problems such as insomnia and restlessness, forgetfulness, depression and even withdrawal. Other physical symptoms can include cramping, digestion system issues, rashes, headaches and even tics.
So How Can You Learn to Improve Time Management at Work?
You need to make notes of your symptoms and signs of being stressed at work. You can even ask colleagues to advise you on what they notice when you are stressed at work. Noticing the signs can help you avoid getting stressed at work. You need to set a workable plan that is actually achievable on a daily basis. This will also help you determine whether or not you have a time management problem and also make you feel more in control. Improved time management may help you accomplish more tasks but you also need to determine which tasks are the best use of your time and what should be delegated, especially if you are in a supervisory role.
While you cannot obtain a higher quantity of time to work with, you can improve the quality. Make sure you are analyzing how your time is being spent daily by making a note every 15 minutes to half an hour of what has been accomplished. Review this weekly. Prioritize your tasks and attempt to have an uninterrupted period of time to deal with the most urgent ones. Get into a routine. Sort mail and emails into levels based on essential to read, important to read and read when you have time.
You may find that the last category is totally unimportant and does not warrant any time at all. Be organized. Tidy your desk daily and have set places for everything in your office. This will also save time looking for things. Don’t forget to take a timeout during the day to reflect and clear your mind. Avoid meetings that are unnecessary or a waste of time. Learn skills to deal with important things in meetings without tangents that divert the meeting into time-wasting conversations.
How Can You Better Manage Your Stress at Work?
You can avoid getting stressed at work by talking about factors that cause you stress. Sometimes colleagues and work friends may offer some solutions and often just talking about the stress causing situation helps relieve some anxiety. Relax tense muscles in your body. Breathe in deeply and take note of muscles that are stiffened up and make an effort to relax them. This helps relieve physical and mental stress. Learn to delegate and also to say no.
Taking on too much work that you will not be able to complete in the designated amount of time in a day is a sure way to pack on the stress. Passing on work to others or saying no to added responsibilities will help reduce stress and improve your time management. Take a walk or at least get out of the office for a short while in the day to help reduce stress. Try and avoid nicotine, caffeine, and sugar which do not improve stress or concentration levels and have a detrimental effect on physical and mental prowess.
Learn techniques to make decisions and to problem solve. Take a course if necessary as this will also help you reduce your stress levels. Being more decisive and focused and able to find solutions to problems will help lower the levels of stress experienced in the workplace. Do a weekly report on time spent at work and what was accomplished during that time as well as forward plan for the following week.
You can share this with your manager as well as recommendations on what can be done to improve efficiency or resolve issues in the workplace. While you may not totally avoid getting stressed at work, you can control it and learn coping mechanisms to reduce its impact on you.
How to avoid getting stressed at work really relies on your own ability to manage and control your own behaviors. Practicing good time management as well as controlling your stress and learning how to deal with triggering situations will go a long way to help you avoid getting stressed at work. The first step is always the biggest one. Decide what you are going to do to better manage your time and stress and put it into action.