May 28, 2020
Too much to do, and too little time. Balancing responsibilities and fitting them into a busy schedule is a common stressor. Time management skills can reduce the mental burden of juggling tasks, and increase the likelihood that everything gets done (4).
Time Management Tips
- Use a to-do list or appointment book. Writing down your responsibilities has a number of benefits. Not only will it ensure you don’t forget anything, it also reduces stress by allowing you to drop your mental to-do list.
- Prioritize your tasks. Focus on completing the most important, and the quickest tasks, first. If you have a few “to-dos” that will only take five minutes, knock them out quickly for the peace of mind.
- Break large tasks into smaller pieces. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a really big task before you. Breaking big tasks into small pieces will help you get started, which is often the hardest part. For example, writing a paper can be reduced to pieces such as doing research, preparing an outline, and writing an introductory paragraph.
- Limit distractions. Spend a few days recording how much time you spend on distractions such as social media or TV. Then, cut out the distractions you don’t actually enjoy, and schedule time for the ones you do enjoy. Always set an alarm so you know when to get back to work.
- If you can’t limit your distractions, get away from them. If you know that you will succumb to distractions, get away from them. Create clear boundaries between work and play by putting up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, turning off your phone, or going to a coffee shop without a TV. Everyone is different in this regard— make the changes you need to focus.
- Give yourself time between tasks. Plan on arriving at appointments 15 minutes early, and bring something to do in case you find yourself waiting. Scheduling some buffer time will help to reduce your stress when things inevitably run long.
- Let yourself be less than perfect. If you try to complete every task to perfection, some of your other responsibilities won’t get done at all. Focus on completing everything to an acceptable level, and then go back to improve upon your work if you have time.