Time Management Techniques - 5 Top Stress Reduction Strategies for Time Crunches

Published: 04th January 2012
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Time management tips really help you manage yourself when you are stressed, rushed, and caught in a time crunch. Those are, after all, the times when it's hardest to make your best time choices.

It's hugely helpful to know your particular stress profile. What are you most likely to do when pressure mounts? Do you freeze, plunge ahead blindly, revert to old work habits that don't work so well? The better you know your patterns, and the more you are prepared to treat yourself with respect and compassion, the sooner you can step in and replace old default settings with a fresh approach. Add these techniques to your mindfulness based stress reduction regimen to broaden your effectiveness.

Here are 5 Stress-Reduction Steps to Take the Crunch Out of Your Time

Stress Reduction Step #1: Work Within Your Limits.

It sounds easy, doesn't it? It is not so easy. You want so much for this project to reflect your full range of talents. Take a deep breath. Recognize the reality: you lack the time to accomplish all that you had hoped to. Straightforward as it sounds, you need to let go of important options! In The Road Less Traveled, author Scott Peck counts "balancing" as one of four essential disciplines that can solve all life's problems. Balancing requires letting go. There are significant gains, of course, that accompany this loss. You assume more positive control by reducing demands on yourself to a workable level. Having simplified your demands, you can succeed!

Stress Reduction Step #2: Prioritize Decisively.

Prioritizing also strengthens your skills at letting go. You must say no to any number of possibilities to create one constructive outcome. Quickly make or revise your to do list (on paper) with "must do" items at the top and things that you can let go of at the bottom. This assures that you don't miss a key task. Why do I stress writing (or keystroking) your priorities? Recent studies confirm that your brain is simply not engineered to store lists. Translating your plans into written, easily implemented "next action" steps is a priceless stress reduction tactic.

Stress Reduction Step #3: Assertively Ask for Assistance.

Are you surprised to see this on the list? Don't be! It's OK to ask for help, and it's important to be calm and clear when requesting it. Remain firm and friendly, not frenzied, as you reach out. This keeps the stress level at a minimum for everyone (yourself included). Know that you may be called upon to give help in turn, down the road. This reciprocity helps create social capital for all concerned, if done well. If assistance can't be obtained, return to step one and reduce your list further.

Stress Reduction Step #4: Give Thanks.

Once you've completed whatever was possible, given the time available, be sure to thank everyone who pitched in. If you carried the day on your own, validate yourself warmly for your outlay, and thank yourself too. It was a choice, after all! Expressing appreciation provides an opportunity for gratitude to restore balance and perspective. Balance and perspective are great stress reducers.

Stress Reduction Step #5:Review and Revise.

This step is often overlooked. But reviewing and revising rewards you richly. When you have a moment to yourself, review what happened that left you in a situation with too much to do in too little time. Then, ask yourself these 3 questions in a non-judgmental way:

* Was procrastination involved?

* Were there unexpected changes in your day that threw a wrench in the works?

* What can you do to avoid a situation like this in the future?

Time management skills can't address every eventuality. You will, of course, be faced with demands to squeeze too much activity into too little time. Still, your best is more than enough - doing your best will strengthen and direct you in difficult times to come.

Now, what is your next move towards stress-free effectiveness?


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