Stressed Out by Time?
5 Steps to Help Time Management
Ask the average person what causes them the most stress in their life, and you will probably hear similar answers. “Every day is just so busy.” “Between work and life there’s never enough time.” “I never have time for homework.” No matter what stage of life you are in, there never seems to be enough time. According to apa.org, the American Psychological
Association reports that on a scale of 1 to 10, the average level of stress most Americans feel is at a 5, or the halfway point in between none or extreme. While the leading cause of stress is reported to be money, work, and the economy, not too far after those are things relating to family and physical health. Surprisingly not mentioned on that list: the stress of school and time management.
Whether we like it or not, time moves at the same pace each day. There are certain things that take up our time every day. Commute, work, class, and sleep are usually the biggest sectors. If you have a family, then that is another large portion of your time that takes away from time you can do what you want with. For context, I am a twenty-two-year-old single male with a part time job and a handful of classes throughout the week. And surprisingly, even I can feel stressed out about time management. So, I was naturally interested when we began talking about time management in class. I was ready to change something or make something work so that I didn’t feel quite as stressed on a day to day basis.
In my college class, we began to look at the fundamentals of time management. The subject is important for incoming Freshmen, because it is easy to get distracted by social and normal life. I would go as far enough to say that it is critical to sit down with new college students and give them a fresh dose of reality, to encourage them and get their attention about what they need to do to succeed. That first step – is managing our time, minute by minute, hour by hour. So, what did we do in our class?
Step 1: Draw things out.
The first important step is to make yourself aware of what you do on a day to day basis. Sometimes we do things so often and so frequently, we don’t even realize how much time they can occupy from our day. For instance, once I started logging in the things I would do each day, it was amazing to see how long it took me to do certain things. I realized that if I could cut down the time it took me to do those things, or cut them out of my schedule entirely, I would have extra time, or be able to slow down and do a more thorough job in other tasks that I have to do.
By writing down the things I normally do in a day, I realized how long those take to do. I also began to wonder what I needed to do to free up more time.
Step 2: Note What to Change
The first thing I began to do was to look for points of my schedule I wanted to change. While there are certain activities like work and class I couldn’t move around, I knew there were parts of my day where I could pick and choose what I wanted to do. I looked at those time spaces and wrote down what I wanted to do during that time. During the week I would look at my calendar to see what I should be doing during that time frame. I noticed that what I had changed was refreshing and was a nice break from what my routine had been. Making a change is a big step in becoming less stressed due to time management and having more free time to do other things.
Step 3: Notice How You Feel.
When you do your task during the different time space, notice how you feel. Do you feel different than when you would do that task during your old routine? We do things differently as humans to feel better. If you don’t feel better, then maybe you should try something even different just to see what makes you feel good. If you struggle with this, go back and clear up your free (manageable) time again and try to re-arrange things yet another way.
If you notice that you feel great, then congratulations! You have managed to successfully reduce some stress because of time management.Remember what you changed and try to do that again for other tasks.
Step 4: Be Friendly to Yourself.
I have learned that I regularly do things better when I have more time to do that, and I am sure that is the case for most people. When you look at your calendar, be friendly to yourself. Give yourself a break here and there and give yourself friendly time spaces to complete tasks. If you really want to be successful, eliminate distractions, like your phone. For crying out loud put your phone on Silent Mode and set it aside. If you absolutely need to know when you are contacted,leave the ringer on and set the phone on the other side of the room. This continues to help me tremendously when I am zeroing in on completing a task that I need to do.
Also, give yourself encouragement. Keep reminding yourself how you feel when you completed a task a prior time and reward yourself! It’s okay to be nice to yourself, and you will become more efficient as you practice. Trust me, I’m no perfect time manager, it’s something I know I need to work on, but I feel as though I have gotten better. Sometimes completing a chore, task, or homework assignment can be an awesome feeling! Just try it sometime.
Step 5: Keep Trying!
The thing with time management is, it’s not a “One Size Fits All” type process. No, often there is more of a core issue at hand, and sometimes multiple. But just remember, rarely ever is anybody able to magically fix their life the first time around. It is a process, a challenge, and an ongoing event. I know that even I have things to improve on. That is why I like to break up my life into weeks and really focus on how I am going to make this next week better than my prior one. And while I do give myself breaks at time, I know that I must stay focused on continual success in whatever I do, whether work, school, or daily life! And at the end of making small improvements, enjoy the feeling that you really are accomplishing something. It is an AWESOME feeling.