(Best of Celebrating Your Journey – March 10, 2017)
To all my readers: With 2019, the 14th year of my Celebrating Your Journey blog articles, “From the Heart” byline, I will be offering the “Best of the Best” articles you found helpful through the years. Many thanks to everyone who have given input and followed along w/ each month’s lifeskill—Relationships/Core Values, Time Mgt, Career/Money Mgt, Recordkeeping, Possessions, Housekeeping, Wellness, Meals, Childcare, Recreation/ Entertainment, Reflection, and Celebration. For my new readers, may these lifeskill articles offer you encouragement, insight, and commitment to seek, reach, and achieve your life dreams and goals in synergy.
All of us know when we effectively manage our time there is less stress in our lives and hopefully healthier ones as well. So, I thought you would like to know what the Mayo Clinic offers as their tips for managing your time (source: Time management: Tips to reduce stress and improve productivity, Mayo Clinic staff/Basics page, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/time-management/WL00048, June 20, 2012/updated March 31, 2017).
Stressed & Overwhelmed
“Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number and complexity of projects that need to be completed at work each day? As the day flies by, do you often feel as if you haven’t paid enough attention to each task because other tasks keep landing on your desk, co-workers interrupt you with questions or you can’t get it all organized?”
If this sounds familiar, Mayo gives some basics for managing your time, minimizing stress, and maximizing your quality of life. Mayo first asks “. . . how do you get back on track when organizational skills don’t come naturally? To get started, choose one of these strategies, try it for two to four weeks and see if it helps. If it does, consider adding another one. If not, try a different one.”
Tips for Getting Back on Track
- 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.
- 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, pager and email.
- Get plenty of sleep, eat 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 time management course. If your employer offers continuing education, take a time management class. If your workplace doesn’t have one, find out if a local community college, university or community education program does.
- 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.
Getting Help When You Need It
If you are too worn out, burned out, and out of control to try any of these tips, by all means seek professional help. Mayo suggests contacting your employee assistance program (EAP) at your workplace or discuss your situation with your doctor.
I would add to those resources a professional life coach, helping you focus on what is most important to you to process through the pace that works best for you. The outcomes will not only result in more effective use of your time, but also give you peace in the pace of your life and a healthier prospect ahead.