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How to Reduce Stress by Managing Your Time Better

Managing your time better can help you reduce stress – and be more productive, creative, and happy. These time management tips will reduce workplace stress, help you manage your time better, help relieve anxiety and stress.

Managing your time wisely is empowering because it gives you a sense of control, which relieves anxiety. And, good time management allows workaholics (like me) to put limits on unhealthy work habits.

“Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.” ~ Douglas Pagels.

When you’re anxious and stressed at work, the last thing you want to do is play and be creative….but playing can be a great way to let off steam! To learn how to make the most of a busy work schedule (including time to play and “invent new letters”), read The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy.

And, here are six ways to reduce anxiety and stress at work…

Decide if poor time management is a source of stress

If you’re stressed and anxious because of difficult coworkers, a toxic work environment, or office politics that you’re unable to participate in, then learning to manage your time better may not help you relieve anxiety! Poor time management involves procrastinating, underestimating the time it takes to complete tasks, and spending a lot of time on details that don’t matter. And that’s why managing your time better can reduce stress: when you don’t have enough time to do your job, you feel stressed and anxious.

If you’ve realized that time management isn’t a source of workplace stress, you might find 6 Tips for Negotiating Conflict at Work helpful.

But if you need to manage your time better, keep reading…

Take 30 or 60 minutes a day to PowerJournal

This is my favorite tip for relieving stress and achieving goals, from The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth and Purpose. My first hour of the day is spent writing in my journal, planning my workday and week, expressing my fears, frustrations, and achievements, and setting my personal and professional intentions. PowerJournaling allows me to clear my head of the fluff and focus on what matters. Taking time to stop and think keeps you in tune with yourself, which is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety.

Find ways to empower yourself at work

The more power you have in your life (even perceived power), the less stress you’ll feel. Research shows that the amount of control you have in your life directly affects the amount of stress and anxiety you feel. What creates the most stress and anxiety at work? There may not be anything you can do to directly affect the source of your stress (eg, locking your difficult or toxic coworker in a closet for an hour), but you can empower yourself in other ways.

For instance, I can’t directly control how much money I make blogging, but I can analyze and capitalize on my most popular articles and sources of advertising revenue. That gives me a sense of control and mastery, which reduces stress and anxiety.

Create a work schedule that suits your personality, lifestyle, and job description

I’m a full-time freelance writer and blogger who could bang on my blogs all day! I have no boundaries between my work and home life, and this is sometimes a source of stress in my marriage. So, I created a schedule that gives me chunks of time to work and chunks of time to play – and it’s surprisingly easy to stick to! Creating a work schedule is one of the best time management tips because it gives you structure and control.

Protect yourself from distractions

Before I created my work schedule, I kept Twitter, email, my blogs, and various forums open in the background. If I got “stuck” for an idea or phrase, I’d surf through all those open applications, which made me less productive and, ironically, more anxious about how I was spending my work time! Now I check email, Twitter, etc four times a day, at set times.

Here’s another time management tip from office manager Marvi Marti: “For the first hour at my desk I do NOT answer the phone. I catch up and address new issues.” To reduce stress, you need to manage your time better by putting your biggest distractions in their place.

Build time into your daily schedule to work on your strengths

I love Marcus Buckingham’s advice to work on our strengths and not worry about our weaknesses! He’s the author of Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance, and he encourages people to maximize their strengths at work and home.

For instance, my strength is writing blog posts and learning about search engine optimization. My weaknesses is visiting other blogs and commenting (which is supposed to be a great way to market your own blog). So instead of worrying about my weaknesses, I focus on my strengths. This empowers me and makes me feel in control of my career goals, which reduces workplace stress and anxiety.

Empowering yourself at work is the best way to relieve stress and anxiety. The actual task that gives you a sense of strength and control isn’t important — it can be as little as watering the plants every Tuesday. The important part is to create habits or tasks that give you a sense of mastery and achievement.

For more career tips, read Why Doing a Good Job Won’t Get You Ahead at Work.

If you have any questions or thoughts on time management or reducing stress at work, please comment below…

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7 thoughts on “How to Reduce Stress by Managing Your Time Better”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Yes – that’s one of my favorite time management books!

    My favorite tip is to NOT check your email until just before noon, and to only check email twice a day. Eventually, Ferriss says, only check your email once a day. This is a fantastic way to both reduce stress and manage your time better…I do it most days.

  2. Scarlett Gately Clark

    Thanks for the article! My bane is Facebook and Twitter. I will try to schedule them, as you have.

  3. Thanks for sharing these tips for managing your time better. Have you read the 4 hour workweek by tim ferriss? That’s a great time management book.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    That’s great that you hired someone to help you at work — this will reduce your stress and increase your productive time management!

    I love grandfather clocks 🙂

  5. Very useful educational article. I have a busy grandfather clocks business and now I realize there were to many phone call interruptions. I just hired a very competent employee to handle the phone calls. Thanks!

  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comment, Christy! I think the worst work and time interruption is the phone or email. Better to set a period of time to deal with phone calls and emails, instead of constantly starting and stopping your work to take calls.

    Learning how to manage your time really is the best way to reduce stress at work, because it gives you a sense of control and power.

  7. Thanks for this article, I too work from home and there is a pull of both work and family time. When you work outside the home you get to leave the office, but when the office is only down the stairs it gets tricky. I can be unfocused at times from work, I like the advice of not answering the phone for the first hour to catch up on emails and time sensitive issues.