Being busy is what business is about. But it is not good if you always feel pressed for time. It is OK to be extremely busy and running around at occasions, say when there is an important audition or a meeting, or on a day of the month when you are closing the accounts, etc.. But some people run around like a headless chicken 365 days a year. They are so pressed for time and hence stressed. They won’t find time to complete projects, getting signatures on time, booking tickets, whatever. They simply don’t know one basic thing, time management (actually task management, since one cannot manage time). Effective time and task management not only helps you to complete tasks on a deadline but also helps you lead a stress-free life. Here’s how:
Staying organized is the basic outcome of time management and by staying organized you de-clutter yourself. You know what you will do if a particular situation arises and you know the sequence of your working pattern. More importantly, since you have a pattern, there is nothing that comes in suddenly and puts a halt to your work. There will be nothing that will interfere with your working pattern, unless and until, some real unexpected things arrives. But still, if you are an organized person, your planning will also include time and anticipation for some unexpected happenings.
Further, being organized also means maintaining neat and de-cluttered work spaces. Such a person knows where to look for a particular file. Some may think at this point “Well, I am not organized, so what? I can fetch all my things”. Yes you can still fetch everything, but you need to do more mental work (leading to stress) and spend more time (again leading to stress) in order to fetch an important file, than a person who is organized.
If you are a person who manages time effectively you will say ‘No’ without hesitation. You will not invite all sorts of tasks and then the accompanying stress of being unable to handle them in the given time. You know how much time you have, you know your working capability and speed,and hence will only take the right amount of tasks you can handle.
You know which task is the most important one and needs attention right now. You won’t be working on a task (task 2) today that has its deadline next week, while there is a task (task 1) which has a deadline today stays unattended. You might complete task 2 well in advance, but the incomplete task 1 adds to your stress.
Expecting the unexpected:
As I said earlier, you always allow some ample time and schedule for things that are unexpected, which means you expect the unexpected. Anticipating sudden things has two benefits:
- You won’t feel pressed for time when something unexpected takes place, because your plan for the day includes some time to handle those things too.
- You won’t be surprised on the occurrence of an unexpected happening and this won’t surprise and hence stress you.
Scheduled work/leisure hours:
If you are a person who manages time effectively, you plan your day and have clean schedules for work hours and leisures. So you don’t work all day without play and become so dull as Jack at the end of the day. You schedule your breaks too, which are quite important not only for your productivity but also to keep your mind stress-free.
Procrastination clears your work for today and gives you a relief. But it builds up a stressful time for tomorrow. There is nothing such as spare time. If you postpone your today’s task for tomorrow, some other task has to be deleted or postponed tomorrow in order to do the postponed task. This goes on and on and one day you end up with a bunch of tasks, all postponed; imagine the amount of stress this could build up. On the other hand, if you decide to complete the task tomorrow, you have to incorporate extra time for the postponed task in a day’s schedule which is already packed. Again, this gives nothing but stress.
What would you prefer? Time management or stress?