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Manage Stress with These 5 Time Management Tips

How to Reduce Stress by Using Your Time Better

Time management is a huge part of stress management. Here are five tips to help you reduce stress and become more productive.

Plan ahead. When you dive into the workday blindly, you set yourself up for uncertainty and stress. Any time spent planning is trivial when compared to all the time you lose frantically moving from one issue to the next. To clear your mind and set yourself up for success, set aside some time to plan the events of the day. Take 15 minutes at the end of every day to straighten your desk and create a list of tomorrow's most pressing responsibilities. You can also reduce stress by arriving to work five minutes early to assemble a to-do list for the coming day.

Reduce distractions. Although we can't produce more time each day, we can improve the way we use the time we have. To enhance productivity and flow, it's important to eliminate distractions. Research suggests it takes 23 minutes for a person to regain focus after being distracted from a task. While we can't always prevent every type of distraction, we can reduce them by committing to a strict schedule. This means only checking email at specified times and turning off your phone while you're engaged in important work. You should also resist the temptation to read the news or check social media when you should be working.

Streamline your work environment. Are you the type of person who has a cluttered or messy workspace? You should know it could be sapping your productivity. According to a study appearing in The Journal of Neuroscience, desk clutter competes for your attention even if you aren't aware of it. Researchers found that if multiple stimuli are present in the visual field, they will compete for neural representation, depleting your ability to focus on a given task. It may sound like a simple thing, but you can reduce stress and become more productive by simply clearing off your desk.

Use time management techniques. There are some psychological techniques you can use to ensure that you use your time more productively. The Mayo Clinic recommends setting time limits on certain tasks to increase the chances of you committing to the project and completing it without distractions. It can also be helpful to break up big projects into mini tasks to make them seem more manageable. If you've been putting off a particularly undesirable task, commit to doing only a portion of it; many times, you will find that you end up completing the entire task after building some momentum.

View time as money. It may sound like a cliché, but if you view time as money, you will be far less likely to waste it. Most people have trouble effectively budgeting time relative to the actual importance of a specific task. While it makes sense to buy new tires when you need them, you wouldn't spend $400 on winter tires in the middle of summer. Unfortunately, people frequently make irrational decisions about how they use their time. Before you commit to a task, ask yourself whether it's really important enough for your limited valuable time.

The therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you learn effective techniques to manage stress and improve your well-being. Contact us today!