• Go Ask Debbie

How can Time Management Reduce Stress?


I feel like in today's society, we are under more stress than years ago. However, I would say this is all brought upon by our own stressors.


There are ways to certainly minimize stress, one of which is time management.


So, how can time management reduce stress?


Parkinson's law

It can often be a time waster. Consider this, if you say you have 1 hour to view social media, then you will spend that entire hour, and possibly more, going down rabbit holes. When you have 2 hours for yard work, you will spend that entire 2 hours. When, in reality, maybe you could have spent 1 hour raking leaves and trimming tree branches. Tasks expand to the time you give them.


80/20 rule

Many people have heard of this, but maybe don't entirely understand it as it's been used in so many references that I've personally heard over the years. But, basically Pareto's principle says that "for many outcomes roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes." Related to time management, this means that if you have 100 minutes to complete a project, you will be able to accomplish the main goal within 20 minutes. The other 80 minutes are either wasted time or time you have to perfect and improve on the project.


Place Everything on your Calendar

My recommendation is that you make sure everything gets put onto your calendar. Give an appropriate amount of time for each task, project, or appointment and stick to it.


If it doesn't go onto my calendar, it doesn't get done.


For years, I kept To Do Lists.


The problem with having a To Do List is that, for me and others I know, if it's not on your calendar, you have to find free time in your schedule to get to it. So, if you don't have time on your calendar for To Do List items because you have 8 hours of meetings in your work day, then when will you get to that list?


People talk about Work-Life Balance these days. But, if we don't schedule To Do items onto your work calendar, you will often end up working "after hours" to get to your To Do List. That's just not a good balance, to me.


And, if your To Do List is on a pad of paper somewhere, you could easily lose it or it could get buried in a pile of papers. That used to happen to me a lot!


Then, I would often get stressed trying to find the item I was supposed to follow up on, only to waste time and often never find it.


Reduce stress for yourself and place everything on your calendar.


Stop being a Perfectionist

Let's use the project example.


Often times, with today's collaborative environments, people are setup to work in teams. A team will be available to review your project before it is perfected. So, I would setup 20 minutes (maybe even give yourself 30, if you feel the project warrants that amount of time), give the project your full attention for that 20 minutes, and then send it off in DRAFT form to one or all of your team members to review and provide feedback. Often you'll find you receive feedback that would have altered any more of the 80 other minutes you spent on that project. This alone can really reduce stress.


How many times have you spent hours on a project that you spilled your heart and soul into, only to have someone provide feedback that made you change 80% of your work? I know I used to get very stressed when I did that.


Reduce your stress and stop trying to be perfect. Remember why they call things drafts or version one.


I hope these time management strategies can help you reduce stress, even if just a little bit. Every little bit counts, as they say.


Keep it simple!

Debbie


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