Find More Time in a Busy Schedule for Less Stress

Black businesswoman checking the time on wristwatch in corridor
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Many people find themselves too busy these days, which causes stress. The reasons vary from person to person, but the following are some main ones why people find themselves too busy, along with time management and stress management ideas to help.

Say No

Many people end up overscheduling themselves because they feel uncomfortable saying "no" when people ask things of them. Perhaps they don't want to disappoint others or admit they can't "do it all." Ultimately, they disappoint themselves by not having enough time to do what's important to them. Does this apply to you? If so, learning to say no might be a good time management priority. Use it to create space in your schedule for what's important to you.

Be Clear on Your Priorities

Don't add activities to your schedule for the wrong reasons, and end up spending your days doing things that don't reflect your values and priorities. If you find yourself struggling to fit in what's important, then necessities like adequate sleep and other healthy habits may fall by the wayside. To insure that this doesn't happen to you, make a list of what's most important. List things like family, friends, and career. Then look at how you spend your days. See how much time goes to these things. Is it a good match, or are you spending an inordinate amount of time doing things that aren't as important to you? It's never too late to make changes.

Map It Out

A common time management trap many people fall into is that they don't know where their time goes, or they overestimate the amount of time they have available and underestimate the amount of time each activity takes to complete, and become overcommitted. If this sounds like your days, you may need to keep a careful schedule, writing down everything you do. Don't agree to new activities until you've found a way to pencil them in, overestimating the amount of time you think it will take to complete them.

Manage Money Wisely

It's become increasingly common for people to work more than they'd like because finances demand it. Many people are working longer hours and even more than one job. To get out from under debt and financial woes, you need a plan that involves spending less, saving, paying off debt, and possibly earning more (not by working more but by getting paid what you're worth).

Stay Organized

Your schedule isn't the only thing that should be organized, so should your home. Most people don't realize how much time and money are sucked up (not to mention stress created) by living in an environment where things are difficult to find and relaxation is a challenge. These tips on staying organized can help you to stop the drain on your time that a messy home can create.

To Thine Own Self Be True

Knowing yourself well can also help you to avoid getting overwhelmed. How? For one thing, by knowing your limitations, you avoid taking on too much. If you constantly put yourself in a position of taking on more than you can handle, take an honest look inward to help you figure out what's behind this. That way, you can stop.

These resources should give you a good start on a less harried lifestyle. In the meantime, you can find some stress relievers for busy people. They fit easily into a busy schedule to keep you more calm, cool and collected. 

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.