The simple, unpleasant truth is that we are probably busier than we ever have been. Never mind the fact that little science backs up this notion, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
“You can see it all around us,” – “People talk too fast. We’re always in a rush. We start things and don’t finish them and are constantly nagged by the idea that we’ve forgotten to do something, but we’re not sure what it is.”
But can we reduce stress. Think about it as adding an extra hour to your day through time-management techniques.
Something as simple as “knowing where your keys are in the morning, knowing where your kid’s library book or homework is, will reduce a lot of stress,”
Make a Time Diary
Take a week and plot out what you do every day. Be honest. If you watch 25 hours of TV each week, write it down.
“This is a painful awakening for most people, including myself” – “You have to include everything — gym time, eating, driving, weekly meetings, all of it. But it’s difficult to make intelligent decisions about using your time more effectively if you don’t know what you’re doing with your time now.”
Learn to Say “No”
Turn off your cell phone and beeper. When someone asks you to do something that you really don’t have time to do, say so, politely, but firmly. And don’t allow yourself to feel guilty.
Part of declining to do things, is focusing on your goals. Your time diary can help in this regard. Once you’ve blocked time for important, sign on for only those things that are important, family, friends and health. Once you know exactly what you have time to do, turning down things that don’t fit into your priorities is easier.
Time-Based, To-Do List
“Create a to-do list that includes how much time you’ll spend on each item on the list,” Lists are helpful, but when you add how much time each task should take, it helps prioritize how you go about the tasks. When you prioritize tasks you naturally focus on those that you can do immediately.
Let Your Computer Help
Technology helped get you into the time bind in the first place, so use it to help get you out. Try some of the many personal scheduling software programs that allow you to keep a calendar, “to-do’ lists, and phone and address books on your computer.
The goal here is to use the technology to get rid of all the paper in your life. I can’t stress enough how important this is.
The more clutter you have in your life — phone numbers on slips of paper, business cards in notebooks, a desk piled high with calendars and lists — the more likely you are to waste time trying to stay organized and on top of things,
Is there a more overused buzzword today? We all combine several activities into one all the time. Some multitasking is dangerous. Talk on the phone while driving and your chances of being involved in a traffic accident rise dramatically. That being said, lots of activities can be effectively and safely combined. Listen to books on tape while commuting. When you watch television, pay your bills.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
There’s nothing wrong with being ordinary. “Set rational goals for yourself,” – “It’s a fine thing to strive to be your best. It’s counter productive to try to be the very best.”
Finally, don’t let any progress, however small, go unrewarded. It doesn’t have to be a big reward, maybe it can be as simple as spending some time by yourself or getting a massage. It’s important to acknowledge and enjoy your success.