How to Manage Your Stress and Time Even Better

Sections of this topic

    How to Manage Your Stress and Time Even Better

    © Copyright Carter McNamara,
    MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC

    One of the most frequent concerns and complaints of people today is that they
    don’t have enough time to do what they — or especially their bosses — want
    them to do. Consequently, there are many resources with guidelines and tips
    to manage time more effectively. Time management and stress
    often are closely related and discussed together.

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Test – How Well Are Your Stress and Time Management Now?
    Myths About Stress and Time Management
    Major Causes of Workplace Stress
    Biggest Time Wasters
    Common Symptoms of Poor Stress and Time Management
    Wise Principles of Good Stress and Time Management
    Simple Techniques to Manage Stress
    Simple Techniques to Manage Time
    Role of “Gumption”
    Additional Resources About Time Management
    Additional Resources About Stress Management

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

    Test – How Well Are Your Stress and Time Management

    Before you read more about stress management, it might be interesting to see
    what your stress level is now. Take this short test.

    Test Your Stress

    What about how you manage your time now?

    Management Quiz

    So what do you want to do to manage your stress and time even better? Consider
    the many guidelines in this topic.

    Myths About Stress and Time Management

    Myth #1: All stress is bad. No, there’s good and bad stress. Good stress is
    excitement, thrills, etc. The goal is to recognize personal signs of bad stress
    and deal with them.

    Myth #2: Planning my time just takes more time. Actually, research shows the

    Myth #3: I get more done in more time when I wisely use caffeine, sugar, alcohol
    or nicotine. Wrong! Research shows that the body always has to “come down”
    and when it does, you can’t always be very effective then after the boost.

    Myth #4: A time management problem means that there’s not enough time to get
    done what needs to get done. No, a time management problem is not using your
    time to your fullest advantage, to get done what you want done.

    Myth #5: The busier I am, the better I’m using my time. Look out! You may only
    be doing what’s urgent, and not what’s important.

    Myth #6: I feel very harried, busy, so I must have a time management problem.
    Not necessarily. You should verify that you have a time management problem.
    This requires knowing what you really want to get done and if it is getting
    done or not.

    Myth #7: I feel OK, so I must not be stressed. In reality, many adults don’t
    even know when they’re really stressed out until their bodies tell them so.
    They miss the early warning signs from their body, for example, headaches, still
    backs, twitches, etc.

    Major Causes of Workplace Stress

    1. Not knowing what you want or if you’re getting it – poor planning.
    2. The feeling that there’s too much to do. One can have this feeling even
      if there’s hardly anything to do at all.
    3. Not enjoying your job. This can be caused by lots of things, for example,
      not knowing what you want, not eating well, etc. However, most people always
      blame their jobs.
    4. Conflicting demands on the job.
    5. Insufficient resources to do the job.6. Not feeling appreciated.

    Biggest Time Wasters

    1. Interruptions. There will always be interruptions. It’s how they’re handled
      that wastes time.
    2. Hopelessness. People “give in”, “numb out” and “march
      through the day”.
    3. Poor delegation skills. This involves not sharing work with others.

    Common Symptoms of Poor Stress and Time Management

    1. Irritability. Fellow workers notice this first.
    2. Fatigue. How many adults even notice this?
    3. Difficulty concentrating. You often don’t need to just to get through the
    4. Forgetfulness. You can’t remember what you did all day, what you ate yesterday.
    5. Loss of sleep. This affects everything else!
    6. Physical disorders, for example, headaches, rashes, tics, cramps, etc.
    7. At worst, withdrawal and depression.

    Wise Principles of Good Stress and Time Management

    1. Learn your signs for being overstressed or having a time management problem.
      Ask your friends about you. Perhaps they can tell you what they see from you
      when you’re overstressed.
    2. Most people feel that they are stressed and/or have a time management problem.
      Verify that you really have a problem. What do you see, hear or feel that
      leads you to conclude that you have a time or stress problem?
    3. Don’t have the illusion that doing more will make you happier. Is it quantity
      of time that you want, or quality?
    4. Stress and time management problems have many causes and usually require
      more than one technique to fix. You don’t need a lot of techniques, usually
      more than one, but not a lot.
    5. One of the major benefits of doing time planning is feeling that you’re
      in control.
    6. Focus on results, not on busyness.
    7. It’s the trying that counts – at least as much as doing the perfect technique.

    Simple Techniques to Manage Stress

    There are lots of things people can do to cut down on stress. Most people probably
    even know what they could do. It’s not the lack of knowing what to do in order
    to cut down stress; it is doing what you know you have to do. The following
    techniques are geared to help you do what you know you have to do.

    1. Talk to someone. You don’t have to fix the problem, just report it.
    2. Notice if any of the muscles in your body are tense. Just noticing that
      will often relax the muscle.
    3. Ask your boss if you’re doing OK. This simple question can make a lot of
      difference and verify wrong impressions.
    4. Delegate.
    5. If you take on a technique to manage stress, tell someone else. They can
      help you be accountable to them and yourself.
    6. Cut down on caffeine and sweets. Take a walk instead. Tell someone that
      you’re going to do that.
    7. Use basic techniques of planning, problem solving and decision making.
    8. Concise guidelines are included in this guidebook. Tell someone that you’re
      going to use these techniques.
    9. Monitor the number of hours that you work in a week. Tell your boss, family
      and/or friends how many hours that you are working.
    10. Write weekly status reports. Include what you’ve accomplished last week
      and plan to do next week. Include any current issues or recommendations that
      you must report to your boss. Give the written status report to your boss
      on a weekly basis.
    11. “Wash the dishes”. Do something you can feel good about.

    Simple Techniques to Manage Time

    There never seems to be enough time in the roles of management and supervision.
    Therefore, the goal of time management should not be to find more time. The
    goal is set a reasonable amount of time to spend on these roles and then use
    that time wisely.

    1. Start with the simple techniques of stress management above.
    2. Managing time takes practice. Practice asking yourself this question throughout
      the day: “Is this what I want or need to be doing right now?” If
      yes, then keep doing it.
    3. Find some way to realistically and practically analyze your time. Logging
      your time for a week in 15-minute intervals is not that hard and does not
      take up that much time. Do it for a week and review your results.
    4. Do a “todo” list for your day. Do it at the end of the previous
      day. Mark items as “A” and “B” in priority. Set aside
      two hours right away each day to do the important “A” items and
      then do the “B” items in the afternoon. Let your answering machine
      take your calls during your “A” time.
    5. At the end of your day, spend five minutes cleaning up your space. Use
      this time, too, to organize your space, including your desktop. That’ll give
      you a clean start for the next day.
    6. Learn the difference between “Where can I help?” and “Where
      am I really needed?” Experienced leaders learn that the last question
      is much more important than the former.
    7. Learn the difference between “Do I need to do this now?” and
      “Do I need to do this at all?” Experienced leaders learn how to
      quickly answer this question when faced with a new task.
    8. Delegate. Delegation shows up as a frequent suggestion in this guide because
      it is one of the most important skills for a leader to have. Effective delegation
      will free up a great deal of time for you.
    9. If you are CEO in a corporation, then ask your Board for help. They are
      responsible to supervise you, as a CEO. Although the Board should not be micro-managing
      you, that is, involved in the day-to-day activities of the corporation, they
      still might have some ideas to help you with your time management. Remember,
      too, that good time management comes from good planning, and the Board is
      responsible to oversee development of major plans. Thus, the Board may be
      able to help you by doing a better themselves in their responsibilities as
      planners for the organization.
    10. Use a “Do Not Disturb” sign! During the early part of the day,
      when you’re attending to your important items (your “A” list), hang
      this sign on the doorknob outside your door.
    11. Sort your mail into categories including “read now”, “handle
      now” and “read later”. You’ll quickly get a knack for sorting
      through your mail. You’ll also notice that much of what you think you need
      to read later wasn’t really all that important anyway.
    12. Read your mail at the same time each day. That way, you’ll likely get to
      your mail on a regular basis and won’t become distracted into any certain
      piece of mail that ends up taking too much of your time.
    13. Have a place for everything and put everything in its place. That way,
      you’ll know where to find it when you need it. Another important outcome is
      that your people will see that you are somewhat organized, rather than out
      of control.
    14. Best suggestion for saving time – schedule 10 minutes to do nothing. That
      time can be used to just sit and clear your mind. You’ll end up thinking more
      clearly, resulting in more time in your day. The best outcome of this practice
      is that it reminds you that you’re not a slave to a clock – and that if you
      take 10 minutes out of your day, you and your organization won’t fall apart.
    15. Learn good meeting management skills. Meetings can become a terrible waste
      of time. Guidelines for good meeting management are included later in this

    Role of “Gumption”

    Everything good usually starts with gumption. It’s picking yourself up, deciding
    that you could be happier, that you want to be happier – and then doing one
    small thing to get you started and keep you going. Boredom and blaming are the
    opposite of gumption. Stress and time management start with gumption. It’s the
    trying that counts. Poor time and stress management often comes from doing the
    same thing harder, rather than smarter.

    Additional Resources About Time Management

    Recommended Articles

    Big Dog on Time Management
    Time Management Is Not the Answer

    Triple Your Personal Productivity

    Additional Articles

    Basics of Time and
    Stress Management

    Time Management
    Central – tools, tips and reviews to save you time

    Time Management
    – Psychological Self-Help

    Time Management for Leaders
    Planning Tips
    Management Activities

    Your Biggest Time Drain?

    of Time Management

    Balance Your
    Work and Play Ethics

    Are You In Control of or Controlled By Technology?

    Procrastination Definition
    Tip — Manage Time Urgency

    90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness

    Self-Tracking Can Benefit Business

    Time Management With Eagles, Robins, Turkeys
    Don’t Just Manage Your Time, Improve Your Productivity
    Priority Management: Focus on the Big Rocks
    Priority Management: Keep the Main Things the Main Thing
    Multitasking Yourself to Mediocrity?
    The “Do Nothing” Method of Productivity
    Great Reads This Week in HR
    Better Time Management Is Not the Answer

    Additional Resources About Stress

    Heightened Stress in the Workplace

    Less Busy

    Executive Stress: We Have Been on the Case
    Stress, Anxiety, Fears,
    and Psychosomatic Disorders

    Your brain on stress
    Preventing Unnecessary Compensable Stress Claims
    Reduce Stress by Increasing the Feedback

    Executives Under Stress During Stressful Times Need Executive
    Stress Solutions

    Maintaining Personal Values At Work
    Manage Holiday Stress
    21 Ways to Shrink the Email Monster
    Are Your Most Talented People Losing Their Minds?
    Make Stress Work for You
    Stress Management in the Workplace
    Perfect or Be Your Best

    Manage Job Stress
    Manage Work Stress Before It Manages You!
    10 Job Stress Tips
    The Inspiration of Stress
    Work Stress Getting You Down: Here’s How To Get Back Up!

    Stress Tests

    Stress Self-Evaluation

    Stress Level Test

    Also consider

    Creative Thinking



    Personal Wellness


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