Stress is a part of everyday life. But there are some situations, such as your morning routine or your workday schedule, where you can reduce stress through the use of time management skills.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with work or school, or if you're just tired of always showing up late for events, it might be a good idea to explore some time management techniques. Explore different strategies that might be a good fit for your lifestyle, then try it out for a few weeks. See if you notice any changes in your stress level and in your ability to manage tasks. When you put these techniques to use, you can tackle your stress and improve your quality of life.
The Relationship Between Stress and Time Management
In today's world, many people are overwhelmed by the demands of work, family, and social schedules. You've got birthday parties to attend on the weekends, recitals to attend on the weekdays, and a long list of meals to plan and prep in between. And that's not even counting the workload at your actual place of employment. All of these situations can create stress in your life, especially if you feel like there's not enough time to go around.
And to make matters worse, stress isn't something that only targets adults. Kids and teens also experience high levels of stress that seem to be on the rise. They have tests to study for, soccer games to play in, and crushes to text when their teacher isn't looking. Not to mention the overwhelming pressure to succeed in life and make important decisions about their future. All of the pressure can add up.
Negative Health Effects of Stress
Not only does feeling stressed make life less enjoyable, but it can actually be bad for your health when it's experienced at high rates over a long period of time. According to a comprehensive review from the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Sciences, stress can have negative effects on a person's physical and mental health. For example, stress is linked to decreased cognition and memory, lower rates of attention, and even poorer decision-making skills.
Some additional health effects of stress according to the review include:
- Changes in appetite
- Decreased immune system function
- Decreased learning ability
- Higher rates of blood pressure
- Impaired cardiovascular function
- Impaired judgment
- Increased behavioral, cognitive, and mood disorders
- Increased rates of gastro-intestinal inflammation
Stress can impact a person's entire well-being from the inside and out. Oftentimes, stress can be a result of packed schedules that suffer from poor time management. However, if you learn about time management techniques, and put them into practice, it may be able to reduce your overall stress levels.
Benefits of Time Management
Time management skills sound great in theory, but do they actually work? According to one study from the Iranian Journal of Public Health, time management techniques can improve a person's quality of life.
The study involved 114 female participants, half of which were trained in time management skills through a series of workshops held over a period of six months, and half who did not receive time management training. After the timeframe, all participants scored different aspects of their health through surveys.
Results showed that participants who were trained in time management skills showed significant wellness benefits compared to the group that received no training. The time management group reported lower rates of anxiety and depression. In addition, they also reported higher rates of sleep quality.
Additional benefits to time management techniques include:
- Decreased rates of stress
- Higher rates of academic achievement
- Improved life satisfaction
- Increased academic motivation
- Increased creativity
Time management skills might not be able to give you more than 24 hours in a day. However, they can help you utilize those hours in a way that better serves your interests and needs. This can help you be more productive with work and school assignments. Or, at least give you enough time to squeeze in a nap whenever you need it.
4 Time Management Tips to Reduce Stress
Give these time management strategies a try and see if they are a good fit for you. Remember, there are probably thousands of time management techniques out there that can help people create the streamlined routines they want. If one technique isn't for you, move on to another until you find one that sticks.
Analyze How You Spend Your Time
Do you ever wonder where all of the time goes in a day? You should find out. Keep track of how you are spending your time throughout the week. Then, reflect on the way you used those hours.
You might notice that some hours are spent more productively than others. Or, you may discover that your current routine is just filled with too many activities to accomplish within the week. Knowing where your time goes is the first step in redistributing your time to what matters most.
Create a List of Priorities
Another way to help you better understand where you want to spend your time is to find out what matters most to you. Create a list of all of the events, activities, and obligations you commit to each week. Then, evaluate everything you wrote down. it might even help to rank the activities in importance and also in how happy they make you.
After you have ordered your list, adjust your schedule accordingly. For example, work obligations might not be something that you can cut down on. However, if you commit to a reading group that doesn't bring you much joy, then you might be able to cut it out of your schedule and spend that time doing some self-care or spending time with loved ones.
Commit to One Goal at a Time
When you set an acheivable goal, you give yourself something to work towards. Completing that goal can leave you feeling accomplished. Look at your schedule and see what goals you can create. You might have some bigger goals for your week, such as getting your kids to soccer practice on time every day. And, you might also have some smaller goals, like getting through one important work assignment that day.
If you have an important obligation that you need to have finished by the end of the day, you can break it down into even smaller goals to make it more manageable. For example, you might be able to set one goal for each hour that will all contribute to your larger obligation.
Once you set a goal, stick to it as much as possible. Sure, some things may pop up that need your immediate attention. But do your best to manage whatever distractions come your way and return your focus to the task at hand.
Go Easy on Yourself
It can be difficult to start a new a new habit, especially if you're already feeling overwhelmed with everything that you already have on your plate. Go easy on yourself. You might feel more stressed in the beginning because you're trying something new and maybe even wondering if you're doing it right. Everyone has these feelings, don't let them overwhelm you. You can learn to successfully manage your time once you figure out where and how you want to spend it.