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Time Management Skills That Create Free Time and Lower Stress

Thinking about increasing personal and career productivity by developing good time management skills?

With constant demands and expectations being thrown at us everyday, life can quickly become frustrating. Failing to keep up with all of our responsibilities makes us feel like we simply don’t measure up. As frustration and feelings of helplessness take over, it’s easy to dream of forgetting it all and moving to a desert island somewhere.

If this is your story, don’t give up just yet! There are steps you can take to make life easier. Such as developing good management skills that will see you through overwhelming stressful demands on your time!

So, let’s take a look at how it all works.

How Poor Time Management Increases Stress

Poor work habits increase stress and feelings of failure. Obviously, if you are one to get easily distracted or have difficulty finishing tasks, this can be particularly difficult. But, sometimes, there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done.

However, putting in multiple 12 hour days every week isn’t the answer. After all, we are humans and not robots.

Working long hours on a routine basis lowers productivity instead of the opposite. It creates fatigue and burnout while increasing moodiness and illness. Not to mention the neglect our loved ones feel when we don’t have enough time for them.

Plus, the fatigue of chronically working excessive hours slows thought processes. As a result, you work these longer hours with less results.

Failing to meet self-expectations by cheating, overworking, and using other poor time management strategies makes for unhappiness. It lowers self-confidence and throws life out of balance.

Benefits of Good Time Management Skills

Good time management skills improve productivity which increases self-satisfaction and confidence. This provides a better balance between work and rest. Primarily because the process frees up time by avoiding time wasters and halting procrastination.

Good time management is crucial for getting the most out of each day, be it career-based or related to navigating home, family, and personal life. Managing our lives well makes us happy, increases energy levels, and lowers stress.

As a result, we can relax more. This causes people around us to feel more relaxed, as well.

Tools For Good Time Management

Good time management requires prioritizing.

It has been said that we must learn not to search for more time, (after all, we only have 24 hours in a day), but instead learn to manage the events of our day. This is how we strategize our time. But, it requires self-analysis, planning, and self-control on our part.

Everyone is different and what works for one may not for another. Therefore, each individual must decide what works for him or her depending upon motivation, personality, and self-discipline.

To examine how time is wasted and productivity is lost, it is helpful to use tools that help us see the issue more clearly. In addition, time management tools help us plan and prioritize the day so we make the most of our time.

Some examples of time strategizing tools can be found below.

  1. Planner-Allows you to record to-do tasks within a time frame while prioritizing tasks from most important to least important. This helps determine where your time is spent. Also, it encourages you to remain within allotted time frames.
  2. Time Log-Recording your activities in a log every 15-30 minutes allows you to see where your time goes. This is helpful for efficiently planning future tasks. Also, it shows the time of day when you are most productive.
  3. Phone Apps-Same as step one and two.
  4. Habit Trackers-Helps create healthy habits for better management of your time.
  5. Task Managers-Allows for prioritizing and organizing tasks, increasing productivity.
  6. Calendars-Use for keeping up with deadlines and meetings.
  7. Charts-Looks at productivity.
  8. Index Cards-Keeping up with important notes.
  9. Diaries-Examine habits and processes that slow you down.
  10. Notebooks-Use as needed.

No matter which tool you use, the most important thing is prioritizing tasks, being consistent, reviewing the tool daily, and recording all of the task information in the tool.

First Thing In The Morning

Upon beginning your day, organize your workspace which sets the tone for a productive day. In addition, start each day with a plan. Stacking notes and papers in order of priority, examine your schedule and tasks, making note of phone calls to be made.

Check and answer email. Then, turn off emails and put the phone away while you get the most urgent tasks completed. Wait until later in the day to refer back to them.

The 80 – 20 Rule

The 80-20 Rule is based on the premise that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your efforts. Thus, the basis of this time management technique is deciding which 20% of your activities are most productive. Next, focus on these tasks during your most productive time of day.

General Time Management Tips That Reduce Stress

Woman who needs time management skills.

These general tips help you strategize and squeeze more out of your day.

  1. Be mindful of how you spend your day. Understanding work habits is key to getting more done. Find your time wasters and eliminate them.
  2. Set priorities and work accordingly.
  3. Schedule appropriately. Important meetings and tasks should come at the most productive time of day. Regular breaks are an important part of the day as they keep the mind active and fresh.
  4. Delegate effectively or ask for help when needed. This includes co-workers, spouses, children, and paid help.
  5. Stop procrastinating. Making excuses and avoiding tasks is a time waster.
  6. Avoid multitasking. This creates errors requiring additional time spent on corrections. It is impossible to fully focus on two things at the same time. One of the tasks will always suffer.
  7. Combine tasks when possible. Such as listening to podcasts and webinars while driving or waiting in line. This turns empty time into productive time.
  8. Limit distractions. Put the phone away, close the door and hang a do not disturb sign, etc.
  9. Batch your time. Group several tasks together and knock them out more quickly.
  10. Learn how to say no. Avoid overextending yourself.
  11. At the end of the day, take time for reflection. Think about what you’ve accomplished and set up the next day for success.
  12. Do the unpleasant stuff first. Decrease stress by getting it out of the way.

For each task, try using the Rapid Planning Method,( RPM) This technique helps you determine goals and priorities which help you plan your time more effectively.

With each task, determine:

  1. What do I really want?
  2. What is my purpose?
  3. What do I need to do?

As a result, this puts everything in perspective and helps you accomplish goals, while decreasing stress.

Work Related Time Management Tips

Here are suggestions for effective time management at work.

  1. Organize your tasks with a color code system. Red=urgent; Yellow=do next, after urgent tasks; Green=not important (and should usually be deleted.)
  2. Use talk-to-text instead of typing. Avoid errors by double checking auto-correct.
  3. When handling phone calls, do any follow-up immediately afterward.
  4. Schedule a 15 minute break least every two hours.
  5. But, limit screen time which is a huge time waster.
  6. “Snowball” tasks by breaking large tasks into smaller chunks.
  7. Stay motivated by rewarding yourself when tasks are completed. Such as taking a break or a yummy snack.
  8. Perfection is not a goal. But it is a time waster. Instead, try striving for accomplishment.
  9. Keep schedules realistic. Difficult schedules create stress, decrease sense of accomplishment, and lead to burnout.
  10. Utilize online tools such as Zoom or Slack. This decreases time spent driving and preparing for meetings.
  11. Text and email in lieu of meetings. Regrettably, too many meetings decrease productivity and enthusiasm for projects.
  12. Ask for feedback on how you can improve.
  13. Set a time for email. Then, stick to it.
  14. Organize your email. Utilize folders, flagging, or a color-coded system that allow for quickly location when needed.
  15. Minimize distractions.
  16. Rid the workplace of all clutter. Which negatively impacts feelings of well-being and accomplishment.
  17. Expect a positive outcome. And you are more likely to receive one.

Putting the pieces of time management together

Time Management Tips For The Home

Here are some time management skills for quickly accomplishing household tasks.

  1. First, reduce feelings of overwhelm with a few deep breaths. Take a few moments to slowly inhale in through the nose and exhale out through your mouth. This energizes and mentally prepares you for the task at hand.
  2. Cook several meals at one time, freezing the excess for more stressful days.
  3. Use products that save time. Such as spraying shower walls after each shower with a cleanser.
  4. Use Dawn for cutting greasy messes. I recommend Dawn Power Wash Spray, which is a lifesaver!
  5. Soak dishes in soapy water for 30 minutes, before washing or placing them into the dishwasher.
  6. Spray surfaces liberally with cleaner. Then fold and put away a load of laundry before returning to wipe the surfaces down.
  7. To clean the inside of a microwave, place a cup of water in it and bring it to a boil. Then wipe down.
  8. Do quick, small cleans on a daily basis, which make cleaning day a fast, no stress event.
  9. Hire someone to do chores. Such as a cleaning person, yard man, handyman, meal preparation, etc. The cost is often well worth it!
  10. Or delegate chores to the spouse and kids. And offer rewards for a job well done.
  11. For a quick energy burst, drink a big glass of water. Upon rehydrating, you’ll accomplish more tasks.

A Few Stress Reduction Tips

Sometimes we just need to calm ourselves enough to get started. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of work on one’s to-do list. So, here’s a few tips that will get you going.

  1. How To Relax guides you through a meditation and visualization exercise which relaxes the body and refreshes the mind. As a result, this motivates you to quickly complete tasks on your list.
  2. Complete a series of seven to ten deep, cleansing breaths.
  3. Take five to ten minutes everyday to think about all of the good things in your life. Practice gratitude.
  4. Regular breaks are a necessity for remaining energized.
  5. Also, taking care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and exercising at least 30 minutes everyday.
  6. Spend time in joy everyday. Laughter reduces stress and lifts mood. Therefore, listening to a funny podcast or watching a funny video, even talking with a good friend helps you gather the strength and motivation needed for tackling a challenging task.

These six steps are examples of self-care that create the right mindset and mental energy needed to manage a stressful day. Hence, picking the ones that work for you and consistently utilizing them makes a difference in the energy and drive you bring to each task.

Wrap Up Time Management Skills

Remember, some stress is good for you because it motivate you to learn and develop new skills and abilities. This increases self-confidence and brings feelings of accomplishment. Thus, looking at stress as a way to grow and develop allows you to handle it more confidently.

I remember from nursing school, an instructor once told our class, “A C will get you to the same place as an A.” However, the instructor wasn’t telling us not to try. What she meant, as she looked over our classroom of fatigued, back-to-school, Moms and Dads, was, “You don’t have to be perfect. You just need to pass.”

We got the message. And knew what we did with our career, after graduation, was up to us.

In wrapping up, we have discussed negative effects of poor time management skills versus benefits of good ones. Then, we reviewed multiple tips for improving time management for work, home life, and in general.

Therefore, it’s up to you to take what you need from this article and apply it to your life. Become aware of how you spend your time, where it is wasted, and how you can substitute new and productive habits. Following this strategy maximizes personal accomplishment every time.

Now, the ball is in your court. And it’s time to play.

Create free time with time management skills

References

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time-management-strategies

Other Posts About Stress Management

Coping Skills: How To Beat Stress With Winning Results

Calming Techniques To Empower You When Feeling Overwhelmed

Managing Stress In Relationships: How To Find Peace

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39 Comments

  1. These are great tips! I’ve strived hard this year on managing my schedule better because it was getting overwhelming. I lean heavily on my Google calendar and small notebook on my desk to keep me organized. Every activity goes on the calendar and I’ve created block scheduling to reduce stress.

  2. Some great tips here! I am working on my time management skills, I think I work best when under pressure or when I have some deadline. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Time management is key especially in this era of smartphones and all the Internet and social media stuff. For example, you can easily waste a lot of time especially online if you don’t manage it well. Thanks for sharing these important time management tips.

  4. Love this list…..so much great information, will definitely come back for another read!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. I use planners throughout the year to help me manage my time. I also like to take regular breaks whenever possible, it helps that I have a small dog that I need walk daily. It helps to get some fresh air and reset before getting back to it. Great post!

  6. We all have so much on our plates so it’s easy to feel anxious and stressed if we don’t have a plan in place to manage our time and our tasks. A planner is a must for me! Thank you for sharing so many practical ideas for time management!

  7. Love these tips for time management! It’s an important skill to learn. I look forward to more articles!

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