Time Management Tips to Reduce Stress: Part I

by  Piera Palazzolo  |  Self Leadership

One critical habit to address in reducing workplace stress involves your productive and non-productive use of time. How you manage your time is directly correlated to your stress levels.

Some stress is normal. In fact, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety states that stress is often what provides us with the energy and motivation to meet our daily challenges both at home and at the workplace. Stress in these situations is the kind that helps you rise to a challenge and meet your goals such as deadlines, sales or production targets, or finding new clients.

However, it is easy to pass the normal level of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can have many negative effects your body, mood and even your behavior. These effects include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, lack of focus, weight gain, depression and social withdrawal.

Take these simple steps from Dale Carnegie to better manage your time and ultimately reduce your stress in the process.

The early bird gets the worm…and the fresh coffee.

1.    Show Up Early

As far as pros and cons go, there really is no downside to showing up to work, or any appointment early. A big cause of stress is rushing, which leads to anxiety. How many times have you found yourself stressed out and ultimately doing a lackluster job on a project because you did not have enough time? Although this cannot always be prevented, when you come in early, you have extra time to gather your thoughts and get prepared. Even a mere extra half hour is enough to ensure that you make a better impression in every situation. All the way around, this work habit reduces stress. 

“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” Francis Bacon

2.    Keep Your Thoughts & Plans in a Daily Planner

Whether you use software or plain paper, you need a daily planner to make sure that you are on top of all the daily details of your workdays. This will help you keep track of tasks and events. When you spend time planning, you reduce time spent executing tasks.  Whether you are forgetful, or simply need to better manage your time, thorough daily planning is a key tool in successful time management.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

 3.    Be Present: Focus On What’s Right in Front of You

Think about the number of times you have sat in a meeting or even a conversation where you allowed your mind to wander from the subject under discussion? You are often physically present, but mentally in a totally different place. When you daydream during meetings or conversations, you end up uninformed about the topic. When you are not present your mind is not focused on the current situation, rather you make way to become overwhelmed with past thoughts that might even be negative. Being present also has several benefits such as improved social skills and creativity.

Tips to being present:

  • Sit up straight during meetings
  • Take notes on the topic (tip not intended for use during informal conversations)
  • Maintain eye contact with the speaker

Try to take these steps in your everyday life and see how quickly your stress level begins to decrease! Check back soon for Part II, and find more ways to improve your time management.

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

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Articles By piera-palazzolo
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What People Are Saying

Kristen  |  22 May 2012  |  Reply

Hi Piera, in today’s day and age it’s good you are reminding people of the little ways they can stay on top of their stress. I find that 3. is a really important one that people completely overlook. Their mind wanders to their email or some other task they have coming up, but its exactly this kind of “multi-tasking” that adds to this stress. We just don’t focus. The company I work for,, actually helps people focus on the task at hand by letting them get away from their inbox. By sending alerts for the important stuff and letting the rest of incoming mail wait until they are ready to deal, allows them to keep their mind on where it’s at. I hope others will be able to make this mental shift towards email and overall distractions – its definitely becoming a survival mechanism in today’s digital age.

JC  |  23 May 2012  |  Reply

Excellent tips. Along my career I saw those aspects working several times, but the rush imposed by the daily work make me forget them frequently.

I am also seeing this subject about “focus in the present” as “mindfulness”. Also related to Budha.

Best Regards

Twitter: @ComoMeOrganizo
Ultima Nota: De a las cosas la importancia que tienen

Piera Palazzolo  |  31 May 2012  |  Reply

I completely agree, it’s easy to get caught up in work and overlook these things. “Being Present” is one that is often most difficult. I find it best to hang a little reminder of these tips on my desk!

Christina Haxton, MA LMFT  |  29 May 2012  |  Reply

Piera, excellent suggestions to reduce stress and overwhelm in our daily work. Because many people will read your post, agree it’s a “good idea” and keep multitasking anyhow, I challenge others to post their response to ” and what will you do today to remember to practice focusing?” or implement just one of the suggestions.

A visual cue, post-it on your computer screen, or quiet notification as a reminder to get into the habit of the new behavior may dramatically increase the odds your suggestions are put to use and are not just “a good idea I was going to do someday!”

Piera Palazzolo  |  31 May 2012  |  Reply

Christina – I do the same! I have a little reminder hanging on my desk next to my computer. Helps me to re-center and focus when I need it most.

pete  |  31 May 2012  |  Reply

Great tips Piera, each tip you have mention is indeed will help a lot to reduce stress at work. I personally experienced that rushing on something is a great way to get stress easily and showing up early is one of the best ways to do to prevent it. At work I also get stress and the best thing I do is to take a break that helps me relax a bit and try to refresh sanity. When working I use a tool that sets me on a break in every 2 hours of work, which also keep me stay focus on tasks. Having a regular break helps a lot to prevent getting stress and stay focus at work, which also help you boost productivity.

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