Develop better habits to stay healthy and focused.
By Ginny Greene, Editor
Do you put off doing important things until the last minute? Are you often late for meetings or appointments? When work piles up or you miss a deadline, you may feel out of control. Your lateness may cause others to be impatient with you. These feelings can lead to stress.
A little time management can go a long way in managing your daily routines and responsibilities. To keep stress in its place, try to develop habits to stay organized, focused and in control. Here are some ideas:
Time your activities
Start with a clock, a watch or a timer. Use it to gauge how long certain tasks really take. Jot down the start and end times of your chores, or set an alarm or a kitchen timer to remind you how much time has passed.
Allow extra time at first to get things done. You just might be expecting too much of yourself, and you need a realistic picture of how long a task really takes.
If you’re often late, write down appointments 15 minutes earlier than they really are. Give yourself reminders to leave on time, and have things like keys, phone or computer ready ahead of time so you’re not in a mad dash to find them on your way out.
Find your time of the day when you have the most energy. Focus on high-priority or difficult tasks during that period. This may differ from person to person.
Prioritize your to-do list. Put the most important tasks on top. If they’re complicated, break them into manageable steps. Are there others to whom you can delegate certain tasks?
Money worries can pile on the stress. If you tend to fall behind on paying bills, set up a reminder a week before they’re due. Or see if your bank allows auto-payments for recurring bills on a certain date each month.
Do you have a hard time saying no? Only take on what you can comfortably handle. Let someone else step up to the plate. Or just agree to some small part of the project.
Make sure you schedule time to relax. You might go for a walk, chat with a friend, get in a good workout or play with a pet. Find leisure activities that bring you a sense of peace and relaxation.
Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
Keep your sense of humor. Laugh at yourself. Laughing can actually help your body fight stress in a number of ways.
And no matter how busy you think you are, don’t neglect your sleep. Eat healthy foods and get physical activity. Doing these things can help improve your energy, your mood and your overall health.
Helpguide.org. Stress management. How to reduce, prevent and cope with stress. Accessed: 05/05/2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Managing stress. Accessed: 05/05/2014