Five Time Management Techniques to Reduce Stress

These time management techniques help you to take control of time and reduce stress.

Do you feel as though you have a to-do list as long as your arm?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with what you have to do?

Do you feel pressured by a lack of time?

one of the most common causes of stress is feeling pressured by a lack of time. While we can't add an hour to your day, these time management techniques enable you to use your time more effectively and help you to save an hour a day by becoming more efficient.

These five time management techniques to reduce stress include:

  1. goal setting and time management
  2. assessing your use of time
  3. determining whether you are proactive or reactive
  4. planning your work and then working your plan
  5. overcoming procrastination

Time management technique 1: Goal setting and time management

Structure and purpose reduce stress!

One of the most effective ways to achieve structure and purpose is through goal setting.

Goal setting reduces stress and serves as a foundation for planning the use of your time.

Without a clear idea of where you are heading then it is not possible to plan how you will get there.

Goals create a bridge between today's vision and tomorrow's reality.

This vision could be the type of person you want to be, the type of job that you want to attain, or the type of family you want to be a part of.

Whatever your vision make sure that it is grounded in your values and ethics.

Goals is about creating steps to achieve your vision.

By setting daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-range goals you manage your time better and give yourself the structure and purpose that reduces your stress.

Time management technique 2: Assess the use of your time

Once you've identified your goals and know how you want to spend your time the next step is to assess how you use your time.

This time management technique compares how you currently spend your time your ideal use of time.

It is important to gather objective use of your time.

Download a time management log or use time tracking software to record your time.

Once you have done this for about one week look for patterns of use in your time.

Is your time reflective of the goals you want to achieve?

Are you spending your time on your highest priority tasks?

If not, then why not? What is distracting you from your top priorities?

You may find that your schedule is unbalanced. When I have done this with clients they have been shocked at how much time they spend on email or watching TV.

Time management technique 3: Do tasks with less stress

Are you a planner or do you react and jump from crises to crises?

Research shows that planning time reduces execution time and also reduces stress.

This time management technique is adapted from Stephen Covey's quadrant approach to time management.

This quadrant approach to time management identifies your time-wasters and highlights how you can improve your time management.

Now that you have tracked your time with a time management log or with time keeping software draw up four quadrants on a piece of paper, similar to what I have done below.

Fill out the quadrant with the activities that you have done in the last week. My example is below.


time management matrix

Now ask yourself the following questions.

In which quadrant do you do most of your activities?

Are you a planner? Or do you spend most of your time putting out fires?

Can you get the right things done with less stress?

In short, you are are looking to spend more of your time in quadrant 2 and less time in quadrant 1.

To do this you will need to critically evaluate some of your activities in quadrant 3 and 4.

Time management technique 4: Plan your work and work your plan

"I don't have time to plan" is probably the most common excuse I hear for not planning.

But this is probably the best reason to plan.

Sometimes your day is so chaotic that having a plan is something that you can come back to refocus you on your priorities.

Research also shows that planning reduces execution time and improves the quality of output.

So the first step is to get yourself a planner. I like the Franklin Covey Planners however you could also use your diary.

The important thing is to ensure that you have all the tasks written down and ordered by priority

Start with your top priority and when complete move to your next top priority.

Tick it off as you complete so that at the end of the day you have a list of ticks which gives you great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

Time management technique 5: Overcoming procrastination

Most people procrastinate but 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. If procrastination is:

  • impeding your career progress
  • causes you stress
  • sours your relationship with others

....then it is time to deal with procrastination.

Procrastination is a learnt habit...it is not about a lack of willpower!

Thus to overcome procrastination, like any habit, it is best to educate yourself about your procrastination. For example:

  • what are your causes of procrastination
  • how do you typically procrastinate
  • what are your typical procrastination excuses

Once you have a clear idea of these then you can implement procrastination strategies which typically include:

  • breaking larger tasks into smaller tasks
  • planning your work
  • stress management techniques and visualization exercises
  • cognitive strategies that evaluate your 'old excuses'

This is why I like this Procrastination Challenge. The Procrastination Challenge is a 21 day course that stops your procrastination permanently.

When I did the course I was able to round up all my old procrastination excuses and put into place strategies to beat procrastination.

Take 5 minutes and read about the Procrastination Challenge today.

Other stress management tips

Time management techniques to take control of your workload is one way to reduce stress. Here are a number of other tips for reducing stress:

  • bring childlike playfulness into a laughing yoga session lighten the load of your day
  • change the "I can't" into a resounding "I can" and reduce those negative thought pattens at the conscious and subconscious level with stress management hypnosis
  • ruminate less about the past and worry less about the future by gaining a greater appreciation of the present with mindfulness based stress reduction
  • study after study shows that adopting a positive mental attitude improves your ability to cope with stress
  • bubbling under anger is usually stress...and anger often increases stress in the long-term. Defuse your anger with these anger management tips
  • physiologically the opposite of the stress response is the relaxation response. Use relaxing music to reduce stress. I talk more about the relation between music and stress

Search here for more ideas to reduce stress

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