So Much to Do and So Little Time!

Is your stress level going through the roof because you have so much to do and only 24 hours in which to do it? Do you feel that the day flies by and you didn't finish everything you set out to do? Here are some tips to reduce stress and improve productivity from the Mayo Clinic.

Effective time management is the key to leading a less stressful life.

These simple steps can help you reduce stress and reclaim your personal time. By managing your time more wisely you will improve your quality time and lessen your stress level. Start by picking one of the steps below. Try it for a few weeks and see if it helps. If not, try picking one of the others and see what works best for you.

  • Plan each day. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.
  • Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
  • Delegate. Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else.
  • Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.
  • Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.
  • Practice the 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it. (Believe it or not, this really works!)
  • Evaluate how you're spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you're spending your time. Look for time that can be used more wisely. For example, could you take a bus or train to work and use the commute to catch up on reading? If so, you could free up some time to exercise or spend with family or friends.
  • Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone and computer. You'll be amazed how much more you get done without the phone going off or checking your e-mail constantly. In the technology world we live in, sometimes the techno-gadgets are the biggest time suckers.
  • Get plenty of sleep, have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time.
  • Take a break when needed. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Do some quick stretches at your workstation. Take a day of vacation to rest and re-energize.

-By Brian Tracy

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