Ladies, the best way to combat stress is by making the most effective use of your time. The majority of your daily angst is likely a result of you trying to do too much at once coupled with an inefficient use of the time you have. Give these 10 time-management tips a try and then use a little of that time saved to relax and unwind.
10 tips to better manage your time
1. Keep lists
Though this may sound tedious, writing down a to-do list, keeping a written schedule of events and appointments, scribbling a grocery list and even jotting down important thoughts can keep your head clear so you are more mindfully present with your family and friends, and more capable of handling situations that need quick thinking and problem-solving skills.
Lists also keep you organized so you don't waste time trying to figure out where you are supposed to be, who you are supposed to meet or pick up, and what groceries you need for dinner.
2. Simplify your life
If you try to make every aspect of your life elaborate, you are going to burn yourself out or, worse, feel like a failure because you've pulled up short of your expectations. In reality, your loved ones, coworkers or the neighborhood soccer moms aren't going to notice if you opt to keep things simple (and if they do, they may just follow your lead).
For example, instead of making complicated multi-course meals from scratch, let one course be a pre-made dish from the deli. Use frozen foods when you don't have time to tie on the apron and spend hours in your kitchen. Utilize the local bakery and buy scones for the weekly work breakfast or cupcakes for the kids' weekend ball tournament.
And when planning family get-togethers or parties, don't do everything yourself – ask others to pitch in on sending invitations, decorating, cooking or buying the beverages.
3. Set boundaries
Women – the ultimate caregivers, problem solvers and soothe sayers – seem to have the toughest time saying "no." And the result, unfortunately, doesn't always result in being a Superwoman. Contrarily, it often results in being super stressed.
Saying "yes" to every person that wants and needs something from you is not going to make you an inherently better person – it will, however, set you up to be in a ceaseless losing battle to do your best at every task you agree to take on.
Be realistic with your time and energy, prioritize what it truly important, and tell people "no" so you can feel good about the things you do agree to do.
Technology is a wonderful thing – it saves time, bridges relationships all over the world, and, if it isn't already in your hand or briefcase, it is readily available nearly every place you go.
However, technology is also a time waster. If you aren't interrupted by calls and pop-ups, you spend hours wading through useless emails, texting instead of simply placing a call, and perusing endless playlists of music.
Starting today, turn off your cell phone and computer for one hour and use that 60-minute block to catch up on things that have fallen behind. Pick up around the house, shop for groceries, catch a coffee with a girlfriend or simply unwind and enjoy the uninterrupted quiet time.
5. Stay organized
If much of your time is spent looking for things in the midst of shuffled papers, wrinkled clothes or a jumbled mess of cookware, it is time for you to get organized.
It may sound like an insurmountable feat, but having your house, office and even your car neatly organized will result in you spending your time more productively (and undoubtedly with less frustration).
6. Prioritize family time
This does not mean you have to add a few more hours to your day to be with your family. What it does mean is that you put your family on the top of your list and make the most of your time with them.
By keeping your family ties strong, you will find that you feel more appreciated, less stressed and far less driven to take on a heft of duties that is going to negatively impact quality time with your loved ones.
7. Delegate tasks and to-do's
Another bonus of strong family ties is a willingness by the whole family to pitch in and help around the house, freeing up time for you to take care of other obligations or take time for yourself.
Have your kids clean up the yard, fold clothes or clean up dishes after dinner. Ask your spouse to help with laundry, feeding the pets and getting the kids ready for bed or school.
You really don't have to do it all! And, best yet, you are teaching your kids the art and importance of sharing responsibilities as well as giving them life skills that will benefit them as adults.
8. Be the queen of multitasking
By keeping a to-do and grocery list handy, you can logistically organize your day so you accomplish a number of things at once. Map out your errands and stops so you can make one big trip through town instead of multiple trips to and from home.
Simply find other ways to do two or more things at once. For example, walk your dog and return calls, answer emails while you are waiting for documents or files to download, and clean the kitchen as you cook.
9. Don't forget your health
It is easy to forsake your own well-being when you are busy taking care of others. However, it is paramount that you spend time minding your health, too. By staying fit, you run less of a risk of falling ill (which will result in you taking sick leave from work, spending less time with your family, and falling behind in the many other things you are used to doing).
Go for a walk, take a fitness class at the gym, play ball with your kids, quit smoking, make healthy diet choices, get regular check ups with your doctor, don't ignore aches or pains, get enough sleep, and make it a point to healthfully manage your stress. By no means attempt to take all of these on at once, but start incorporating them one at a time.
10. Relax and unwind
One of the biggest reasons women feel so short on time is because they often fill up the time they save with other to-do's. Make it a point to use these time-saving tips and then wisely carve out a part of your week – or even day – to relax, unwind and recharge. Not only will this leave you feeling less stressed, it will compel you to appreciate and prioritize moments when you aren't pressed for time.
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