Stress is normal in life, but it becomes a problem when someone experiences it consistently or too frequently.
It is often the result of having demanding responsibilities such as work, college studies, being a parent, etc.
Most of the time, stress can be reduced by managing time, and this article offers helpful time management techniques you can consider.
What Is Time Management?
It is simply finding the time to do everything you intend to do in a day, a week, or a month.
It involves prioritizing tasks according to urgency and deciding which needs to be done immediately and those that can wait.
How Does Time Management Relate to Stress?
When a person does not manage their time properly, they might fail to complete the tasks they were supposed to.
This might lead to work accumulating to the point where one becomes overwhelmed by a load of tasks.
It is the kind of stress that can be harmful to experience daily as it can drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
At that point, one might benefit from seeking therapy.
Tips for Managing Time
Time management can make your life easier, especially if you live a busy life. Here are various techniques you can use to be better at managing your time.
Break It All Down
To manage your time more appropriately, you need to break it all down. By all we mean, any task that overwhelms you, whether it is a work project or some other demanding responsibility.
Here’s how you break down a task:
- Understand what you are required to do, its complexity, and the deadline
- Divide your work into smaller assignments
- Create a plan of action for the smaller tasks
- Start completing the small jobs one by one until the whole thing is done
Learning about your project beforehand helps you break it down into manageable portions/steps appropriately. The smaller steps help remove the overwhelming feeling by making it seem doable.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritizing is one of the time management skills necessary if you aim to reduce the stress caused by pending jobs.
It involves arranging chores according to their importance, with the most important ones coming first.
You might have a number of jobs that are causing you stress because you don’t know which ones to complete first.
Arranging them by priority will help you manage your time more efficiently. Factors that make a particular work a priority include:
- Its length
- The urgency. For example, does it have a deadline?
- The importance of the task
- The reward. Is there a reward for completing it?
Sorting projects by priority can help you eliminate those that hold no priority, thus freeing up more of your time.
Work in Chunks
Most of the tasks that cause stress are the ones that are too complex to be completed in one session.
A good example is work projects. One of the best time management strategies practical here is breaking the project into manageable chunks.
Then, you will also need to divide your day into sessions and use each session to complete a single task.
For example, you can have several 30-minute sessions to complete one main job that you broke down into several parts. Choose the length of each session according to your needs.
Furthermore, it would be best to set time limits for each task and a realistic deadline for the whole thing.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. So, you might need some wiggle room to adjust to the situation when something unexpected happens.
Be prepared to adapt to handle challenges as they come and be open to ideas that might make you work more efficiently.
Note Your Distractions and Avoid Them
Even with our time management tips, sometimes completing a project involves dealing with unpredictable distractions or complications. In such a scenario, you should learn the encounter and note each setback.
It will help prevent some of these unforeseeable impediments from ruining your future tasks.
For example, if you are working from home, avoid using your phone and other disruptive devices, including the TV.
Find a good place to work with minimal noise and few distractions so that you can concentrate on the job at hand.
Manage Your Commitments
Having too few or too many commitments can cause stress. Learn to only commit to things that are important to you.
Besides, know your limits and avoid overcommitting.
Letting go of commitments can be challenging, but you should remember that no one is perfect, and your life is still a “work in progress.”
Focus on the important goals, and you can always work on the less important ones later.
Having few commitments can also be a source of stress as one might feel their life is less fulfilling. Such a person might need more commitment in their life.
Managing commitments can be classified under setting healthy boundaries in your life.
Boundaries help you observe healthy limits for yourself and ensure that people don’t get advantage of you.
It’s important to know when to say “no.”’ If you don’t, people might keep expecting you to complete too much work than you can handle.
When you set healthy boundaries in your life, it becomes easier to reduce stress and focus on important things.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking breaks might be the easiest yet most important way of stress management tips we have for you.
It might seem counterproductive to take a break when you have a lot of work to do, but it helps.
The logic behind it is that you cannot be productive when you are emotionally and physically drained.
When a person is well-rested and energetic, their stress levels are naturally lower, and they can get a lot of work done efficiently.
While you plan for your day, ensure you are getting enough rest.
You should first plan for at least 7 hours of sleep at night and then have a few short breaks during the day to recharge.
When you get some time off, use it to rejuvenate yourself by doing something relaxing.
When to Seek Professional Help
Stress is a normal reaction that happens to everyone. It serves to keep us alert and ready for danger.
However, it is important to watch out for chronic stress, when a person experiences long-term stress that causes wear and tear on their body.
Chronic stress has some telling physical and behavioral symptoms such as:
- Pains and aches
- Stomach problems
- Anxiety and irritability
- Panic attacks
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it would be best to seek professional help as early as possible.
Our above tips for time management should be helpful for normal stress.
However, if there are deeper causes for your stress, you should consider seeing a licensed counselor or therapist.
The professional can help narrow down your stressors and recommend ways to ease your stress and live a healthier life.
Calmerry — the online counseling and therapy platform — makes it possible for people to get professional mental health help from home through their devices. Don’t be afraid to seek therapy for your mental health as it is as important as your physical health.