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Time management - Stress




Stress can be a good thing in small doses. We often find it useful when working efficiently over small time periods. If stress levels get too high or we continue to work for long periods at moderate stress levels it can only lead to a downward spiral in terms of health and efficiency.

We all have particular levels of stress and it is a good idea to try to ascertain your own levels. If these are too high you will need to come up with a plan to manage it.
Poor Time Management can create stress whilst good Time Management can help to alleviate it.

In broad terms stress is either found at work or at home. Naturally, stress could be caused by having no work or the fact that you work at home.

The idea that some measurement of stress should be at the ‘OK’ point above on a scale of 1 to 10 is slightly false.
If we are considering ‘quality of life’ and we wish to relax then a very low value or zero is advisable.
On the other hand, if we are looking at performance in a given task area then a higher level would be desirable to help ‘push’ you to a greater level of efficiency.
The trick is to know your own levels for different key scenarios and try to manage them accordingly.

Signs and sources


Only you can do the job so you don’t delegate.
Working long hours and at week ends.
Bringing work home.
You don’t take your holiday entitlement.
Cluttered desk.

You get angry easily either at home, when driving etc.
Can’t seem to stop thinking about the job or a personal issue.
You need to have a drink to relax and enjoy yourself.

You get tired easily.
Generally get more aches and pains and take longer to recover.
Eat more than necessary leading to weight problems. Reduced concentration makes you more accident prone.

Find it difficult to concentrate especially when doing more than one task.
Sense of humour reduces. You find it hard to relax and think you should be doing something ‘useful’.


These are many and varied but some key ones are:

Death of your partner.
Death of a close member of your family.
Personal injury or illness.
Losing your job.
Money worries.
Going to prison.
Having a baby.

Some of these events may be planned, for example, having a baby and come as no surprise, so the potential stress can be offset by good planning.
Some are shock events and the source of great stress and upheaval. These are largely out of your control. However, good Time Management can help.
By improving your use of time you will allow yourself to cope much better.

Luckily, many of the above happen rarely. Most stress is caused by minor day to day actions which build to an overall stress level.
For example.

Approaching deadlines.
Getting old.
Being late.
Inefficient people.
Lack of patience.

Think about all the sources of stress that apply to you and draw up a list.
These will be looked at in more detail next, see 'stress sources'.

Non - PRINCE2 information