How you manage your time can either cause or alleviate stress. Interestingly, stress can be interpreted as positive or negative, depending on its intensity and frequency. Productive or positive stress, known as eustress, is a controlled amount of stress that produces a steady state of alertness that can help you focus, but without all the negative side effects of distress [source: WebMD].
Too much negative stress can overwhelm you -- and in extreme cases, temporarily immobilize you -- making it feel impossible to accomplish your goals. Stress causes the body to secrete adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for the "fight or flight" response. Just the right amount of adrenaline might help you to become more productive. However, high levels of stress for prolonged periods may have dangerous physical effects including high blood pressure, anxiety and heart disease. Chronic stress causes the body to slow digestion, raise heart rates and increase insulin levels in the blood [sources: Mayo Clinic: Stress, Mayo Clinic: Stress symptoms].
One way to improve your time management, perform optimally and feel less stress is to sleep more.
Making regular sleep a priority might even improve your ability to manage your time. Research indicates that sleep is necessary for learning. Periods of sleep allow the brain to consolidate newly learned information, not only making sense of the day's events, but also making room in the mind for more information to be gathered in the future. Sleep is necessary for the brain to perform optimally. Without adequate sleep, you are more prone to stress, making it more difficult to focus on important goals and tasks [source: University of Georgia Health Center].
Your ability to manage time can directly affect your health. Develop a plan to manage your time and stick to it. Your body and mind will feel better because of it.
Good time-management skills are critical for effective stress control. In particular, learning to prioritize tasks and avoid over-commitment are critical measures to make sure that you're not overscheduled. Always using a calendar or planner and checking it faithfully before committing to anything is one way to develop time-management skills. You can also learn to identify time-wasting tasks by keeping a diary for a few days and noticing where you may be losing time.
For example, productivity experts recommend setting aside a specific time (or multiple times) each day to check and respond to email and messages rather than being a continual slave to incoming information. Banishing procrastination is another time-management skill that can be learned or perfected.
If your physical surroundings (office, desk, kitchen, closet, car) are well organized, you won't be faced with the stress of misplaced objects and clutter. Make it a habit to periodically clean out and sort through the messes of paperwork and clutter that accumulate over time.
People with strong social support systems experience fewer physical and emotional symptoms of stress than their less-connected counterparts. Loved ones, friends, business associates, neighbors, and even pets are all part of our social networks. Cultivating and developing a social support network is healthy for both body and mind. [MedicineNet.com]
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