Jun 09 2012

How to Manage Your Time Efficiently for Less Stress

Everyone is leading busier lives these days, so the idea of avoiding stress can sometimes seem impossible. Between raising the children, caring for aging parents, and dealing with work, life can seem like one huge juggling act that can leave you with soaring blood pressure and a backbreaking load of work and stress. Dealing with the day-to-day stresses and strains of your work schedule are bad enough, but if you are lacking in time management skills, you can add even more stress and strain to your busy day.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to avoid overwhelming yourself with too much work. This counts for both home and office. Don’t volunteer to coordinate your child’s class bake sale when you are already handling a vital office project. Don’t agree to take the family away on a vacation when you know those dates coincide with tax time.

The simplest way to keep up with your schedule is to use a planner to record all your responsibilities and activities. If someone ask you to do something, there is no harm in getting out the planner and looking, or simply saying that you need to look at it and will get back to them.

All of us want to be helpful to others, and we will often give a yes, of course reply automatically and then think better of it afterwards. We will also then try to soldier on in order to keep our word, but might also start feeling more and more stressed, frustrated and resentful in the process.

One new skill to develop, therefore, is to learn to say no. Particularly if you are running your own business, you need to remember that time is money. If you are a freelance with a flexible schedule, especially one who works at home, many people will start to think that you have “free time” to help them, when in fact you might really be struggling to make ends meet if you do not have enough projects on the go. You need to balance constantly home, work and marketing demands to keep the cash coming in without wearing yourself out in the process.

If you are considering taking on another commitment, look through your schedule and identify if and when you have time available. Remember, just because there is open time does not mean that you should fill it up. Everyone should schedule some personal time to relax and rejuvenate. Be sure to schedule time for a walk or trip to the gym, dinner with your partner, and a picnic in the park with your family.

Another key component of managing your stress is to know when to delegate your duties. If you have an assistant, s/he can be an immense help in minimizing work-related stress. Assess your workload and identify the responsibilities that can be delegated to a helper. If you have no in-house person, consider hiring an outsourced worker or a virtual assistant to help you with the menial tasks that need to be done but can eat up your time if you are not careful.

With so many people unemployed or underemployed in the U.S., offering people the chance to work at home for minimum wage cash in hand is an opportunity that they would be silly to refuse. Just remember that it will take some time to train them, and plan your schedule accordingly for the first two weeks.

But the investment in terms of time and money should more than pay for itself when you start seeing how much better you are able to manage your time and balance your family and business.

FURTHER READING
How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy

Picnic in the Park: A Guide to Fast and Fun Picnic Foods

Successful Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide