Avoiding Stress

Sometimes, perhaps at work or in our every day lives, we may find that we have more than our usual share of chores to do, on the other hand we may sometimes have less to do.

Most of us find it hard to do either without causing unnecessary stress. Stress can be a major health hazard, and in its extreme can lead to heart failure and even death, it must be avoided wherever possible.

When we are young we can handle the stress of school examinations, but from a time point of view, our school lives were managed for us. We had to follow a timetable and like it or not, we had to be time efficient. We knew when we could relax and most of the time we had very little responsibility.

As working adults however, we have to make our own rules and motivate ourselves to be both creative and business minded. Many of us may have family responsibilities and dependants. This combination can cause pressure, tension and stress, much of which can be avoided by proper organization.

How many of you can put your hand on your heart and say you are always organized? Do you at present write out a daily “to do” list?

If the answer is no, you have a long way to go to become efficient and you would benefit by adopting some sort of time management system.

If the answer is yes, but you feel you do not correctly monitor your activities, you could become more efficient. Perhaps you already have a collection of diaries, directories, planners and notebooks; you are nearly there, but you need to consolidate all this paperwork into one “lean and mean” system that requires the minimum of maintenance.

Managing time is merely a form of self-discipline. Time itself cannot be managed, only utilized. The first important step is learning how to say “no”. This, if you feel you do not want to offend, can be difficult. Be polite – but firm. If something comes along that is of less importance than the job in hand, then either say “no” or give a time which will allow you to finish the more important job.

The “to do” list is the more important aspect of self management. Get into the habit of preparing your “to do” list at the same time each day. Write down all the activities you plan to undertake and then give them priorities in order of importance.

All the jobs that must be done are “A” priority, those that should be done “B” and those to be done if time allows, “C”. This way you only organize your time once a day, saving valuable minutes and perhaps even hours. Tick off each task as you complete it.

Getting into the habit should take no more than three weeks of self discipline. After that it should be almost effortless and you’ll feel more organized and generally happier you will be glad you started avoiding stress.