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Reduce Stress and Stop Settling for Less Than You Deserve

2011 September 20
by Marquita Herald

If you don’t set a standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve. ~Anthony Robbins

Personal Time ManagementDoes it feel like all you ever do anymore is work and there’s nothing you can do about your ballooning stress level … because after all the bills aren’t going to stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day for all your errands, and your career or family responsibilities will always be demanding.

But the truth is you have a lot more control than you might think. In fact, managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.

The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. That’s where personal time management can make a difference.

Personal Time Management is not just about organizing your email, clearing your desk, or organizing your schedule … it’s about everything you do; with the ultimate desired outcome of creating a balanced life-style. To put it another way, it’s not about doing more and being busier, it’s about achieving more rewarding results.

Let’s first take a look at the 6 areas of focus in personal time management:

  • Physical: Developing a healthy body; this will mean less stress and fatigue.
  • Intellectual: Making connections, seeing the worldviews and values behind ideas and behavior in the world around us.
  • Social: Cultivating rewarding personal relationships and actively contributing to society.
  • Career: Continuing education and finding or creating self-fulfilling work.
  • Emotional: Learning to control your emotions rather than allowing your emotions, or those of the people around you, to control you.
  • Spiritual: Intentional focus on one’s spiritual and interior life.

Take heart, thoroughly planning and creating a detailed “to do” list for each of the key areas is neither practical nor desirable; however where personal time management planning can serve a purpose is by determining which area in your life is not being giving enough attention. Each area combines to create the whole you, if you are ignoring one area then you are ignoring an important part of yourself.

Alert! No matter how good the time management tip, won’t make a bit of difference if you don’t “replace” the behavior

It’s important to keep in mind, especially before beginning any effort to organize your time, that it won’t matter how good the time management tip, skill or technique is – in order for it to make a difference in your life – you have to have a plan to replace the task(s) you’ve just eliminated with some other activity.

Let’s say you have a goal to spend more time with your family each day – and I give you a time management solution that ends up saving you an extra two hours a day – now what will you do with that time to achieve your goal? If you don’t have a plan ready on exactly how you’re going to spend that newly freed time, you can count on it being sucked up with other things and you’ll end up wondering where the time went, probably feeling like time management didn’t help you at all, and still wishing you could spend more time with your family.

Taking the first step …

We need to start with a little tough love. It’s easy to focus on the big things in your life like work and family as the primary time zappers, but the truth is we all waste time every day in many more ways than we realize (or are willing to admit).

  • We waste time when we surf the web “to take a break” when we’re really avoiding doing work that makes us uncomfortable.
  • We waste time when we flip channels looking for something interesting when we’re actually avoiding doing something meaningful that would require work we don’t feel like doing.
  • We waste time when we engage in escape activities that are disguised as “unwinding” – afterwards, we end up feeling like we haven’t relaxed at all.
  • We say “the day got away from us,” but in a lot of cases, we gave the day permission to go where it pleased.

So, the first step is commitment. You must decide that change is more important than almost anything else. If you don’t feel you’re saving your life then you won’t make the tough changes needed.

Set your priorities

  • Determine your goals and priorities in life. Really think about the things you actually have to do as opposed to things you think you have to do. Often times the lines are blurred because we over commit or feel obligated to do things that aren’t in line with our goals and rob us of valuable time.
  • Don’t do other people’s work. Focus on your projects and goals, learn to delegate, and teach others how to do their own work.
  • Keep a goal journal. Start a journal and write down your progress for each goal. Go through your goal journal each week to make sure you are on the right track.
  • Beware of “filler” tasks. Be careful not to get distracted by “filler” tasks – organizing your bookcase or filing papers can wait until you tackle the items that have the highest priority.
  • Utilize “productive procrastination.” Procrastination doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if you use it to delay working on low priority tasks that may not need to be done at all
  • Apply the 80/20 rule. Some tasks have a much greater return on your investment of time and energy than others. Use prioritization to identify and focus your time on these high payoff tasks.
  • Avoid attempting to do too much. If you spread your time and energy over too many different projects, you may not be able to make meaningful progress on any of them. Good time management often requires that you focus your time on a smaller set of objectives.

Myths about Time Management

Myth #1: Planning my time just takes more time. Research shows just the opposite.

Myth #2: I get more done in more time when I use caffeine, sugar, alcohol or nicotine. Research shows that the body eventually has to “come down” and when it does, you’re likely to lose energy and momentum.

Myth #3: A time management problem means that there’s not enough time to get done what needs to get done. No, it’s not using your time to your fullest advantage, to get done what you want done.

Myth #4: The busier I am, the better I’m using my time. Look out! You may only be doing what’s urgent, and not what’s important.

Be prepared …

Anytime you decide to stop settling for less and to start changing your life, you’re very likely going to have to overcome resistance from the people who you are closest to. We tend to live in a “flock” – our peer group’s standards tend to drive our own –so when we raise the bar, we rock the boat.

When you walk away from the television to do something more meaningful, expect some rolled eyes from those on the couch. When you decline a lunch out with co-workers so you can study something that will change your future, be prepared for whispers behind your back. And when you say no to seconds or dessert, be ready for your overweight friends telling you to “live a little” and to “stop being so serious all the time.”

From the moment “quality” becomes a priority when determining how you’ll invest your time, you begin opening the door to new opportunities and to a greater sense of freedom born from the realization that you are, in the truest sense, creating your best life.

Thank youIf you enjoyed this article or would like to contribute to the conversation, please take a moment to leave a comment, love to hear from you!

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Mahalo!

 

21 Responses
  1. Yena permalink
    February 17, 2012

    Pamper yourself in a way that you are being relieve with stress. Find things that will truly satisfy you and perfect for your taste. I know that there are certain changes in our life where we almost lose our grip but just have faith and never give up.
    Yena recently posted..stress hair lossMy Profile

  2. January 11, 2012

    Hello
    Good tips and well written article. I have to say that for me fish in a fish tank are really great at home stress relievers. Fish are easy to keep and it is very calming to watch them swimming around. Yes, I know that fish don’t really communicate with humans but still, they are calming.

    How do you feel about fish as stress relievers?
    Best Regards
    Eva Mat
    Eva Mat recently posted..Great at home stress relieversMy Profile

    • January 11, 2012

      Hi Eva, I have to be honest I’ve never owned a fish tank, though I’ve certainly known people who have and I agree it is very calming to watch them. Amazing creatures. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  3. January 5, 2012

    This is really a great advice, in reducing stress one must love what he/she is doing and by loving it you don not try to think negative things like settling less than you deserve. This is a great article, thanks for posting it.

  4. September 29, 2011

    Glad you pointed out those time wasters that many of us succumb to… Myself included! I need to work on that, thanks for the tips – I know following this advice will be a great start!

  5. September 27, 2011

    Hi Marty, what a great article! I’ve been studying organizational skills for the last few months, and my coach suggests that we “manage events” rather than “manage time”.

    When we manage events (our activities), we will be more productive, which is what you’re talking about in your article Marty!

    Thanks so much for all the ideas and recommendations.

    Regards from Julieanne
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..Network Marketing Business Nurturing systemMy Profile

  6. September 25, 2011

    Hi Marty,

    What an article! You talked about 6 areas or environments, time management, setting your priorities, myths about time management, and being prepared to creating your best life. You discussed so many areas, so I would like to comment on this quote:

    “From the moment “quality” becomes a priority when determining how you’ll invest your time, you begin opening the door to new opportunities and to a greater sense of freedom born from the realization that you are, in the truest sense, creating your best life.”

    I am in the process of creating my best life. I started changing my life in the beginning of this year and I really understand what you are saying. When I started declining “normal” behavior to pursue my business, I have seen and heard it all! I’ve heard doubt, ridicule, put downs, questioning, confusion, and persuasion to not pursue! It really doesn’t matter because I prefer a life of “quality” and purpose rather than shallow materialism and entertainment! Thank you for this jam packed article!

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..7 MUSTS to “Crush It” BUILDING YOUR BRANDMy Profile

  7. September 24, 2011

    Thank you for your awesome tips on time management.

    Very thorough. I almost have to read it 5 times before I remember all the details!
    Keep it up.

  8. September 22, 2011

    Hi Marty,

    I have found the best two ways to reduce stress are: 1) Do What You Love All The Time. It’s not work when you love what you do and 2) Play as Hard as you work. Playing is stress reducing and it allows us to nurture our creative and imaginative juices. Playing is definitely not just for kids, its for everyone.

    Peace,

    David H. Paul
    David Paul recently posted..How to Use Your Burning Desire to Own Your LifeMy Profile

  9. September 22, 2011

    Hi Marty,

    This is a post near and dear to my heart and I blog a lot about time management and procrastination.

    As a matter of fact, I just posted today about this topic and yes, with proper time management, people can reduce stress greatly.

    Like most things that are worthwhile, it does take a plan and commitment and DAILY ACTION in order to achieve the results you desire and deserve.

    It will not happen overnight, but with the proper dedication, you WILL see quick results and the better the results, the more confidence you will have in the process and the more you will sharpen your skills.

    Keep sharing this great information,
    Marc
    Marc Korn recently posted..What Is The Key To Ending Procrastination?My Profile

  10. September 22, 2011

    So funny that you mention the habit of saying “the day got away from me,” because I used that very excuse earlier this week on a day that, as you point out, I clearly had control over. At least now I know that I need to own up to that, and to really take that control back and use it!! Thanks for the insight. :)

    ~Rosie

  11. September 21, 2011

    One of the things that I need to make sure I do more of working out. Have not done enough of this lately, and I can feel the energy reduction.

    On a positive note, I have been using some time tracking tools to make sure that I am on task and finishing what I need to do everyday.
    Andy Nathan recently posted..5 Ways To Use WordPress Mobile Blogging To Enhance Your Blogging SkillsMy Profile

  12. September 21, 2011

    Great post, Marty!! Planning makes things work out so much more smoothly. I can’t say enough about that. Journaling takes time, but the time you save from it is definitely worth it. I have a peeve in that everybody says I have not time… I am so busy… well I think that we can all take some time and manage ourselves better… We seem to find time to do the things we really want to do!! IT is amazing that we can come up with excuses as to why time management does not work!! So many points you have made here. Thanks!!
    Holly recently posted..Sam Stosur has a Perfect MatchMy Profile

  13. September 21, 2011

    Thanks for de-bunking those myths about time management, it’s a lot easier to take control of my life when I am shown how simple it really actually is!

    ~Sara

  14. September 21, 2011

    I really needed to read this post. Lately I have been having trouble with the day slipping by. I keep getting sidetracked. I have a list but I find myself on people’s blogs learning cool stuff.
    Melodie Kantner recently posted..Are You Making This TribePro Mistake?My Profile

  15. September 21, 2011

    Hello Marty

    Marty this is the key to everything you wrote about, “Alert! No matter how good the time management tip, won’t make a bit of difference if you don’t “replace” the behavior” I remember when I purchased my first Franklin Planner, organized my day according to the instructions. You know what my results did not change because even thought is was in my planner, I fell back to doing other things. When I disciplined myself and changed my behavior the planner worked You have written an excellent article that helps reduce stress.

    Thanks

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City
    Perry A Davis Jr recently posted..The art of influence and persuasion.My Profile

  16. Samantha permalink
    September 20, 2011

    That’s a really great reminder because it’s certainly what happens to many entrepreneurs! Thanks for the tips!
    Samantha recently posted..italian chandeliersMy Profile

  17. September 20, 2011

    Wow, do you know that the six area of focus are the six “parts of self” in social mathematic the only difference is that you use the term career, while in social math it is “financial”. In social math those six areas are the subseries of a person’s personality, which is the key to who you are. I have never seen anyone get that close, without knowing social mathematics. Great post, and you are right it is about balance. TTYL
    Marcus T Cox recently posted..Let it go, to make it betterMy Profile

  18. September 20, 2011

    I just love how you described Personal Time Management: “It’s not about doing more and being busier, it’s about achieving more rewarding results.”

    Out of your 6 areas of focus I think I resonate with the emotional and spiritual elements the most. If I were to pick just one I would pick the emotional part. If all we knew was HOW to control our emotions, we would love more and be more in tune with ourselves, which in turn we will be able to love OTHERS but more importantly we will be 100% willing to dedicate our time, skills, and ideas freely.

    Thanks for your post Marty!

    -Jaclyn Castro

    Emotional: Learning to control your emotions rather than allowing your emotions, or those of the people around you, to control you.
    Spiritual: Intentional focus on one’s spiritual and interior life.
    Jaclyn Castro recently posted..Command Your Inbox Down to ZeroMy Profile

  19. September 20, 2011

    I think that a lot of us get stuck at Myth #4–distinguishing between what is urgent and what is important. We certainly have to be able to tell the difference between important and unimportant tasks if we are going to spend more time on the important ones. I have to work very had to not give the squeaky wheel the oil (urgent things tend to be very squeaky and they grab my attention).

    People who manage their personal time well purposefully spend most of their time on important things, whether or not they are urgent. I am certain that by spending time on important items before they become urgent, we avoid many of the crises, problems, and “fires” that come up when we neglect important things for too long.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..How to Choose What’s NextMy Profile

  20. Kimberly Castleberry
    Twitter:
    permalink
    September 20, 2011

    Marty, what great advice about having a definitive plan to replace the time sucking activity. Water always flows to the easiest point to settle in, a valley, and once we have a groove or pattern of activity we are inclined to return to it if we don’t have a conscious, active plan to avoid that. That’s a really great reminder because it’s certainly what happens to many entrepreneurs! Thanks for the tips!
    Kim
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