How many times have you thought to yourself “I wish I had more hours in my day”? These days, many of us are feeling overwhelmed with too much to do, and not enough time. In fact, this has become somewhat of an epidemic with technology helping us to do things faster. As a result, we tend to add more things on our plate. Yet, this is not necessarily a good thing; over time, it takes its toll on us and we are experiencing more stress than ever in the workplace and at home.
That being said, it’s wise to take measures to protect your time in order to reduce stress. You can start by noticing the choices you make with respect to your time in your day to day life. Oftentimes, you may realize you have more control of your time than you think. Take, for example, interruptions. Many times, we can find ourselves reacting to others without thinking about how this will impact our time. Of course there are times when something is urgent and must be addressed immediately, but there are also plenty of opportunities to make the choice to say “not right now.” Although this may be uncomfortable at first, it will benefit you in the long run to pay attention and practice this skill. With this in mind, here are 3 of the most common areas to find those opportunities:
Reduce Interruptions & Distractions
Experts say that the average person experiences 20 – 50 interruptions and distractions a day, so there are many opportunities in this area for making deliberate choices. Instead of reacting to interruptions and distractions, consider if something is a really an emergency in that moment and act accordingly. What it comes down to is defining what “true emergency” means for you. Tracking your time for a day or two, will help you pinpoint when these events happen. Once you become aware of the causes, you can consciously choose to change that behavior.
Delegate When Possible
Many of us are overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks we are faced with on a daily basis, but hesitate to delegate. We may think we don’t have enough money or are worried that we won’t find a competent person that can do the job as well as we can. However, delegating to someone with the right expertise will reduce stress by freeing up your time to focus on things you excel at and less on the day to day minutia. If you’re not sure what to delegate, repetitive tasks, such as answering phones, and scheduling appointments are a good place to start. Keep in mind that you may not need to hire an employee right away. Virtual assistants or an answering service are good alternative solutions until you are ready to commit longer term.
Commit Your Time Consciously
Sometimes we say “yes” to things without fully realizing how the decision will impact our day-to-day lives. The next time you are asked to do something, think it through before saying “yes”. Even if you think you have the time it’s okay to say “Let me think about it.” This will give you the opportunity to evaluate whether it aligns with your priorities. Also, take a close look at your calendar to be sure you aren’t over-extending yourself. Once you have a visual reference you can check, you are less likely to over-commit and can realistically say “yes” knowing that you won’t regret it later.