Stress occurs usually when we try to do too much at the same time. As a mother who is also running her own business, stress is usually the norm for me. Most times, I have no problem with stress, I actually like it because it pushes me to find creative use of my time. And that is fine because there is actually such a thing as good stress. It is what has kept humankind alive for centuries.
Lately however, I have begun to experience the other kind of stress and I know because I can’t seem to get through my To-Do List. No matter how creative I get, I’m still stuck somehow and my body is slowly reacting to this state of affairs. To understand how bad stress is stealing your time (and your health I might add), it’s important to know what stress really is.
What is stress?
According to the Stress Management Society, this is “primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action. This causes a number of reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions such as digestion.” (Source: stress.org.uk)
How do you know you are stressed?
Strangely, it is not by feeling stressed. We feel stressed all the time, but that might not mean that we are going through stress. Most people don’t really know when they are stressed until they have a breakdown. There are signals the body sends to let you know that you are stressed. According to the free management library these are some symptoms below:
- Irritability. Fellow workers notice this first.
- Fatigue. How many adults even notice this?
- Difficulty concentrating. You often don’t need to just to get through the day!
- Forgetfulness. You can’t remember what you did all day, what you ate yesterday.
- Loss of sleep. This affects everything else!
- Physical disorders, for example, headaches, rashes, tics, cramps, etc.
- At worst, withdrawal and depression.
What is the solution?
If you are experiencing stress and you discover that the important things in your life are being left undone, then you need immediate time management. This does not mean that everything on your list will get done, on the contrary. Time management teaches you how to prioritise so that you do only what you absolutely have to do. You will learn how to drop the time wasters and delegate the stuff that does not necessarily need your personal attention.
Here are some quick tips to help you manage your time better and keep down your stress levels:
- Plan out your day the night before. List out everything you need to do and mark out the important and urgent ones, then place them on top of your to-do list.
- Delegate. You’re probably right and no one can do it just the way you do it, but understand that you cannot do everything. So look for the stuff that you can delegate and do just that.
- Keep a time log. Every hour, write down what you spent the last hour doing. Do that for a week or two and you will know what to weed out of your day.
- Learn to say NO. You are not a super hero and even those can’t do everything. If it’s going to stretch you thin, say no nicely and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Take time out to breathe. Practice breathing techniques. These will help you calm down and get more oxygen into your brain, helping you to think clearer and make better decisions.
If you are not sure where to begin, take the test today to discover your stress levels and get recommendations to help you claim back your life.