‘The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.’ William James
Having coached thousands of people across the globe over the last two decades, I’ve deduced that the most common form of stress most people experience is the feeling of being overwhelmed with way too much to do and having too little time to do it in. In fact, ‘time poverty’ is the biggest problem facing most leaders in Australia today. We simply don’t have enough time to fulfill all our promises and responsibilities.
Due to budget constraints, business restructuring and competitive pressures, individuals are pressured to take on more and more work, all of which appears to be indispensable to the smooth functioning of the company or divisional group.
What’s The Solution?
The solution to this problem of work overload is to become an expert on time management. There is probably no other skill that you can learn that will give you a ‘bigger bang for your buck’ than to become savvy, knowledgeable and experienced in using effective time management practices.
It’s self defeating to believe you have no time to learn about time management or, even worse, while overwhelmed with work, you believe you already know all that you need to know about the subject.
Here’s the punch line: knowing about time management doesn’t make you an expert in time management unless… you put it into practice. Knowledge without application isn’t helpful. You must apply what you know to reap the rewards.
Keys To Time Management
Two helpful keys to time management are:
- the ability to set priorities, and
- the ability to concentrate single-mindedly on one thing at a time.
Because there is never enough time to do everything that needs to be done, you must continually set priorities on task list and activities. Mahatma Gandhi said this: ‘there is more to life than increasing its speed.’
So perhaps a good question you can ask yourself is:
‘What is the most valuable use of my time right now?’
This question: ‘What is the most valuable use of my time right now?’ can help keep you on track, day by day, hour by hour.
The natural tendency for most of us is to major in minors ie. to give in to the temptation to clear up small things first. That’s because small things are easier and they are often more fun and rewarding (and far less effortful) than the big, important things that represent the most valuable use of your time.
However, self-discipline of organising your work and focusing on your highest-value tasks is the starting point of getting your time under control, gaining a greater sense of accomplishment and lowering your stress levels.
It’s Your Turn To Take Action
Here are two ideas for you to do immediately to get your time under control:
- Decide today to take charge of your life and become an expert on time management. Read the books, listen to the podcasts and/or take a time management course. Then, practice, practice, practice every day until you master time management skills that work for you.
- Set clear priorities for your work each day, before you begin. Use your first half hour, at or just before work, to plan out your day and identify the top 2 or 3 activities to accomplish. Then, discipline yourself to start on your most important task and stay at that until it is complete. This will relieve much of your stress immediately.
I hope these tips support you in managing your stress and taking charge of your time. What else works for you? I’d love to hear your tips and ideas the support you in being effective and productive. Sharing is caring, so share your ideas below and let’s build some resources together for us all to prosper.
Until next time, instead of focusing on how stressed you are, give some focus to how blessed you are.
PS: If you need help to manage stress, calm your nervous system and improve your sleep, join me every Monday at midday (Brisbane time) for free 15mins online guided mindfulness practice. If you’re keen to establish, maintain and sustain a new discipline and habit of mindfulness, check out my online Calm Your Farm program, packed with 31 days of guided practices personally delivered by yours truly – whether you’re a beginner or experienced in mindfulness meditation, I’m sure you’ll love it. There’s a 100% money back guarantee to back up my promise to you!
PPS: I’d like to invite you to a one-hour interactive webinar: How to Manage the Mind in