What happens when the job you once loved becomes a pain in the neck? Somewhere between the honeymoon phase and never-ending stress, you became physically and emotionally exhausted. You’re burned out. We’re taught to fake it until you make it, praying that your work situation will change, but sometimes your work conditions won’t improve until you do. Longterm stress on the job can cause your health to decline which can lead to depression, chest pains, sleeplessness, or even heart palpitations.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 40% of workers have extremely stressful jobs and 80% say they need help managing the stress of it. Your wellbeing and overall physical health are a top priority. The sooner you get a handle on your workload, the less stress you’ll encounter. In order to reduce your stress levels, your time management skills need a thorough assessment. How you distribute your time at work is a key indicator of what triggers your emotional strain.
Here are five simple ways to effectively boost your time management skills.
1. Don’t wait, do it now
Procrastination causes stress. Putting things off until the last minute will consume your thoughts as you’re constantly reminded of what you haven’t completed. The sooner you knock out a task, the better off you’ll be. This means limiting your distractions. We love scanning social media as a quick release from our current reality. For every second that you spend stalking your friends online, the more time you lose in completing important tasks.
2. Prioritize your tasks
The moment you sit down at your workspace, write a list of the things you want to accomplish for the day. Set realistic goals that can be fulfilled in a reasonable span of time. Then prioritize the list by using the alphabet. Write an “A” beside the biggest task of the day, then a “B” for the second most important, and so on and so forth. This letter system will keep you on target for the day. Once your shift is over, add the incomplete items to the top of your list for the next day.
3. Chart your progress
Keep a detailed record of the areas where you fall short. What are the setbacks in your daily tasks? How much time does it take you to complete a tasks? Can you improve your record? Jot down how long it takes to complete a task and what caused you to get stuck. Once you realize your limitations, you can look for other methods to get the job done or seek outside training to help you succeed.
4. Know when to delegate
Recognize that you can’t do it all and that’s okay. If you work in a collaborative environment, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your colleagues or superiors for assistance in achieving a goal. If you’re the boss or in a leadership position, distribute tasks to your team. Pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals you manage. Give them realistic duties, not busywork, that will be mutually beneficial for you and them.
5. Walk away
When the stress of the job gets overwhelming and you feel like your back is against the wall, simply walk away. Working through intense emotions is counterproductive. Your focus is off and the work you produce will reflect this. Go for a walk, take an early lunch break, or visit a trustworthy work friend (but don’t distract them, ask first!). Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Stress management is a major factor in evenly distributing your time (and thus one of your time management skills). In the end, you’ll maximize results when your head is clear.