Reduce Stress with Good Planning
Most people spend about 80% of their effort on 20% of their results. Better planning could mean that they could achieve just as much in a fraction of the time. Assess how you really spend your time and when you are most productive by keeping an activity log for a few days. Schedule tasks that need energy or creativity for the times of the day when you are most alert.
Don’t be Afraid to Delegate
Always focus on your priorities. This will highlight the tasks that have to be done, those that can be delegated and tasks that can be dropped. Create more time for yourself by saying ‘no’ to unwanted or unnecessary jobs – this will reduce distractions that take up time you had planned to spend on something else. Turn away unwanted visitors and let people know if you really don’t want to be disturbed.
Juggling different tasks can be stressful, but you must accept that you can’t work on all of them at once.
Top 10 tips for time management
- Prioritise – decide which are the most essential jobs.
- Plan ahead – so that jobs are done properly and efficiently.
- Learn to say ‘no’ – say no to unnecessary or unwanted jobs.
- Set deadlines – especially if you tend to procrastinate or leave jobs until the last minute.
- Delegate – delegate to others tasks you don’t have time to do yourself. Getting others to help when it’s needed is not being lazy.
- Use email – respond to non-urgent queries by email.
- Divert your calls – divert or screen phone calls when you are busy.
- Don’t be rushed – don’t be pushed into making hasty decisions.
- Accept changes – be flexible, objectives and priorities can change.
- Don’t overwork – ensure that you always take your breaks.
Don’t be Afraid to say ‘No’
- Learn to say ‘no’.
We all know what it feels like to have too much on our plate. Learning to be more assertive about our needs and saying ‘no’ to extra work can remove the stressful feeling of being overwhelmed. It makes us feel more in control of our lives. How can you expect other people to realise how busy you are unless you tell them.
- Listen to your inner voice.
Notice the times when you want to set your limits and say ‘no’ but decide not to. Are you afraid of making the other person angry, or of putting your job or relationship at risk? You may be surprised at how many people will respect you for taking care of yourself. It’s better to risk an angry reaction than take on too much and do a shoddy job.
- Practice saying ‘no’.
Keep a log of your positive and negative experiences in setting your own limits. During the week, find two situations in which you can say ‘no’. Start small and work up.
- Ask yourself questions.
What happened when you said ‘no’? how did you say it? What response did you get? Then what did you do? How do you feel about the interaction? Is there anything you still need to do? What would you do differently next time?
Be Assertive without saying a word
- Eye contact
Look directly at the person you are speaking to. This conveys a sense of openness and self-assurance. Staring is defensive and looking away or down seems uncertain.
- Body movements
When speaking, move your hands and body fluidly. Keep your movements moderate and not intrusive. Sudden or rapid movements suggest tension or chaos.
Sit or stand with your posture open, to send a message of confidence and cooperation. Relax your arms by your sides or on the arms of the chair. Plant both feet firmly on the ground and stand or sit up straight.
- Personal space
Everyone has a sense of appropriate personal space and feels uncomfortable when others come too close. To communicate assertively, don’t stand too close, but don’t back off either. Stand your ground.