Time is the most precious currency in the world, an asset given to each individual and, unfortunately, squandered by many. Using your time well is a skill, and many people need to be taught effective time management skills.
When you’re constantly bombarded with responsibilities and you have to devote time to your professional life and family life and meet all your goals in time it can be overwhelming. Trying to do everything with poor time management can lead to deteriorating mental health and increased stress.
This article will help you understand how time management reduces stress and show you techniques to keep things under control. We’ll also discuss the effects of stress on your life, and much more.
What Stress Does to Your Body
Before we get into how time management reduces stress, let’s look at what stress is and how it affects your body.
Your body produces a fight-or-flight response when placed under duress. This helps you deal with the situation. The stress you feel is caused by hormones like adrenaline released from your adrenal glands. Adrenaline isn’t meant to last too long in your system. High-stress levels mean it will last longer in your bloodstream, and chronic stress will slowly wear your body down.
High levels of adrenaline can also cause hypertension, increased chances of strokes, headaches, nervousness, and more. It can also wear down your stomach walls and cause considerable damage to your immune response.
However, stress isn’t always bad. It has helped a long line of your ancestors from pre-modern times survive. Today, it helps you meet tight deadlines, rise in competitive environments, attain your goals, and pay attention to your body’s physical, social, and psychological needs.
Too much stress, however, can negatively impact your energy levels, the quality of sleep you get, your health, and your personal life.
Now that you understand what happens to your body due to stress, let’s figure out how to change how you spend your time with daily planning and goal setting.
Identifying Sources of Stress
When considering how time management reduces stress, the first step to improving your quality of life is to examine the time you dedicate to different activities and figure out which one of these activities creates the most stress in your life.
For instance, according to the American Institute of Stress, around 67% of American adults experienced increasing stress levels as the pandemic progressed. So, it’s not always just you but also your surroundings. The only difference is that things like the pandemic are beyond your control.
Focus on what you can control, and try to minimize the effects of the rest.
One of the primary stressors in your life is likely related to ineffective time management techniques. It’s also very likely that workplace stress is leaking into the rest of your life, and you need to strike a healthy work-life balance if you want to regain control of your days, return to a state of normalcy, and meet your goals on time.
One of the consequences of work-related stress is that by being overworked, you don’t have enough time for physical activity, your family and friends, hobbies, or anything you might enjoy. This leads to even easy tasks seeming arduous and unpleasant which further reduces motivation to work.
When you feel the tension in your body, list everything that isn’t bringing you joy. Recalibrate how you spend your time performing each of these tasks and go from there.
Steps for Reducing Stress with Time Management
Step 1: Make A To-Do List
Making a list of chores you need to finish in a week or a day can help in several ways. Seeing your responsibilities written down can bring clarity and take some load off your working memory. Now that your head isn’t muddled with vague, anxiety-inducing ideas of what must be done, you can more clearly think about each task.
Depending on your personality, you can either list weekly or daily tasks, divide them according to priority and even categorize them. For instance, what is a work-related priority or deadline you must meet? What are household chores you can’t put off?
After you make a list, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Allocate Time
Before you think of what you should do first – a process that can feel overwhelming – assign the time it will take to finish each of these tasks. We mean the actual time, not what you hope it should be.
Assign a time range to each task, and pick the upper time limit. For example, if the least amount of time taken to create a presentation is 30 minutes, and the maximum time it will take you is one and a half hours – write down the latter. This will take care of unnecessary and self-imposed tight deadlines you can’t meet.
When you give yourself the time you need to accomplish your daily goals and take a breath in between, you will not be setting yourself up to fail with lofty, unachievable goals. Start checking the goals off your list – do this physically, not mentally – and a sense of relief will counter the stress and help motivate you for the next task.
Physically checking to-do items off your list aids in visualization and can boost self-esteem and belief in self-efficacy.
Step 3: Don’t Dogpile
When trying to accomplish tasks, taking breaks will not kill you. The opposite, however, may.
Instead of adding ten million things to your to-do list – which defeats the purpose – break down your time into categories. Prioritize the things that cannot be put off and add them to the top of your daily list.
There are many apps you can download to help you out with learning how time management reduces stress. You can even use a whiteboard or a desktop note-taking app that displays your weekly goals and breaks them down into daily tasks.
Dedicate at least eight and a half hours of sleep, depending on how fast you fall asleep. There’s no need to wake up at 5 AM as long as you sleep reasonably. If you don’t sleep, your body cannot heal and freshen you up for the next day, thereby resulting in irritability, mood swings, and, you guessed it, more anxiety and stress.
Next, remove the time it takes to dress up, dress down, commute, eat, and do routine basic tasks you cannot avoid as a human. Think of how you want to split the remaining time. Don’t dedicate 8 hours to work and struggle to fulfill basic needs. Don’t compromise on food, and try to incorporate some physical activity.
Using gym equipment for training is an obvious answer, but you can even try stretching, yoga, cardio at home, dancing, pilates, or anything that moves your body and feels good. Trust us when we say you need those endorphins.
Lastly, set aside some me-time. You can read a book, make tea, perform a skincare routine, get a massage, catch an episode of that TV show you’ve been thinking about, or even stare at a wall for fun. Do something entirely for yourself, and watch how it helps you unravel.
Leisure time, work, physical activity, and personal time can work to figure out how time management reduces stress. But you don’t need to worry about doing all of this every single day, either – it’s all about balance and consistency.
Step 4: Socialize
Humans are meant to live in social communities and form meaningful associations. We derive so much of our lives and personalities from other people that isolating ourselves from our loved ones doesn’t make sense.
Stop ghosting your friends, or flaking out on meetups, call your parents and siblings, and pay attention to your partner. Nobody will blame you for needing space from time to time, but once you’ve learned how time management reduces stress, you will want them around.
When learning how time management reduces stress, there are steps you can take to effectively incorporate it into your life. Managing your time by making to-do lists and assigning limits to how much you can take before it breaks your back will save you a lot of anxiety and potentially chronic conditions.
As long as you set realistic goals for yourself and remain consistent, you’ll see how time management reduces stress and makes a difference.