Knock Out Your Stress: Manage Your Time

Has a lack of time ever gotten you stressed?  Do you feel like you’re always in a hurry, but somehow never able to get everything done?  Have you forgotten the last time you fit something you truly enjoy into your day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve probably experienced some stress due to a lack of effective time management in your daily life.  Even if you’re the most organized person you know, who never leaves home without their day planner and has an Outlook calendar for every scenario, you could still be experiencing stress due to over-commitment.  Here are a few tips[1] to help manage your time more effectively:

1)      Learn how to say no.  In many cases, time management stress originates from over-commitment.  Perhaps you feel uncomfortable telling someone no due to fear of disappointment.   You may be concerned about losing friends or “falling off the radar” if you pass on the latest invitation.  That is a normal reaction, but rest assured that saying no to things you cannot fit into your schedule will not hurt your relationship with someone, particularly if that relationship is built on mutual respect and is a true friendship.   Don’t worry about finding a good excuse, as that can often lead to stretching the truth which you’ll later feel guilty about and can cause even more stress.   The best approach is to be direct and polite.

2)      Prioritize.  Sit down and look at how you’re spending your days.  What’s truly important to you?  What is essential to your daily routine?  How can you cut out non-essential tasks and group tasks together so that you can manage them more effectively?

3)      Make time to plan.  Set aside at least 10 minutes each day to review the next day’s activities and plan for the coming weeks ahead.  A schedule isn’t worth very much if it isn’t up to date, so strive to maintain your time management system once it is established!

4)      Ask for help.  Are you making a special trip to the dry cleaners each week when your spouse drives right past it every day to work?  What may be an hour roundtrip activity for you could just be an extra 5 or 10 minutes for them.  Sit down with your partner and review the household duties periodically to make sure you have a system that’s effective for both of you.

[1]Scott, Elizabeth.  “I’m Just Too Busy. How Do I Find More Time?”  Retrieved from on May 27, 2014.