"There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full." Henry Kissinger
What an end to 2015 - many have said "good riddance". So as the new year starts, we all aim to set goals for the year and hope to achieve these? Most modern working people don't have the luxury of spending the majority of their time on the the things that are most important to them. As Lily Tomlin put it "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." Pressure management (Time and Stress Management) is key to achieving our goals in 2016. Over and above our usual work pressures, we have an election year, pressure on the Rand hitting junk status and its repercussions as well as strike season coming up; so here are some useful tips to help you manage your time better and try to alleviate some stress factors.
The 6 major causes of workplace stress
- Poor planning - not knowing what you want or if you're getting it
- The feeling that there's too much to do (or feeling even if there's hardly anything to do at all)
- Not enjoying your job. This can be caused by lots of things, for example, not knowing what you want, not eating well, etc. However, most people always blame their jobs.
- Conflicting demands on the job.
- Insufficient resources to do the job.
- Not feeling appreciated
Biggest Time Wasters
- Distractions & interruptions. This includes IM chats, messaging etc.There will always be interruptions. It's how they're handled that wastes time.
- Procrastination - putting off tasks.
- Not being able to say 'no'
- Poor delegation skills. This involves not sharing work with others.
Common symptoms of poor stress and time management
- Difficulty concentrating
- Simple decisions become big problems
- You become edgy and unreasonable
- Eating and sleeping patterns change
- Your muscles tense and you may also experience chest pains and nausea
- At worst - withdrawal and depression
Wise principles of good stress and time management
- Create or maintain a balanced lifestyle - this includes balance at work and home
- Identify issues in your working environment that cause you stress - poor lighting, messy area, chair the wrong height etc
- Be organised - plan your week, plan your day the night before, delegate activities
- Learn to say no - there are times when this is appropriate
- Breathe deeply and lower your voice - when we are stressed we tend to take short, shallow breaths. A few deep breaths can calm you down.
- Do not accept the stress that a colleague subjects you do. If someone is not pulling their weight this must be addressed instead of taking on extra burdens.
- Make time for you! Plan one treat everyday that is for you. This could be anything from watching your favourite TV programme to reading a book or going for a walk. This helps create the balance needed to manage time and stress more effectively.
Secrets of time management
Control your time or others will control it for you
Organise your time so that you don't lose it
Set up a good time management system and stick to it
Do top priority tasks first
Divide big jobs into manageable steps
Do one thing at a time
Do it now!