There’s no rule that says you have to be a superhero. So much has been written about amazing individuals that achieve the impossible – they juggle full-time jobs, study, run a business, raise children, run a household, coach the national cricket team and write a novel in their spare time. Anyone you read about that does all these things is a rare individual. And they probably forgot to tell you about the six months they spent recovering from all the exertion…
Small amounts of stress can be motivating, however high levels of stress can have the opposite effect. Common symptoms of excess stress include fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, irritability and increased susceptibility to illness.
Are you always rushing to catch up? Do you have an enormous “To Do’ list that seems to grow each day? Poor time management is a common source of anxiety and stress.
If you have trouble getting things done, invest in a time management course to help you prioritise tasks, eliminate unnecessary activities and plan your day effectively. Here are some tips from my book The Art of Calm: Freedom From Stress & Worry to get you started:
- Be clear about what you are trying to achieve. Set personal, financial and career goals.
- Take time at the beginning or end of each day to plan.
- List everything you need to do and the date by which it needs to be completed.
- Number each item in order of priority. Your highest priority items will be the ones that help you achieve your long-term goals and ambitions.
- Delegate or lose tasks that do not help you achieve your goals and ambitions. Place a value on your time, and eliminate tasks that do not have a positive payback. For example, if you value your time at $25an hour, consider hiring someone at $12 an hour to do your housework.
- Do one thing at a time, and see the task through to completion before starting something else. Switching between tasks can be a huge time waster.
- Attack the tough top priority jobs first. Most people have a tendency to do all the little tasks first so they can get them out of the way. It is more effective to start with the highest priority task. Ask yourself, “What one task if completed would have the greatest positive impact on achieving my goals?” Try completing this task first.
- Handle incoming mail once (and this includes email). Don’t keep putting it aside - make a decision and act on it immediately.
- Set time aside each day to work or study without interruption - close the door, turn on your voice mail - do whatever it takes to make sure you can work in peace and quiet.
- Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you can’t fit it in, say no.
- Plan your personal time, such as playing tennis or catching up with friends. People often think that leisure activities need to be spontaneous but this isn’t true, it can be just as much fun to plan time out.
- Plan your errands, client calls and other travel to ensure you make the best use of your time.
Find time each week to do something to nurture your soul – spend time with your children, dance, write in a journal or enjoy some guilt-free leisure. Scheduling time for relaxation will keep you motivated.
If you don’t already have a diary or personal organiser, put this on your shopping list today. You can use it to record your goals, appointments and also to remind you to take part in regular exercise, hobbies, family and romantic time and last but not least – fun!
After a successful career spanning finance, marketing and management roles in Fortune 500 companies, Talia experienced stress-induced burnout, and left the corporate world to establish a consulting business.
Talia is a published author, professional speaker and business mentor. She is also a contributing author to 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life with Bob Proctor, John Gray and Jack Canfield.