Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stress & Time Management: The Basics

Do you need help getting more value out of your time? Would you like to improve your quality of life? Time management is your answer! Time management is a set of principles, practices, skills, tools, and systems that work together to help you get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the quality of your life. By following a few simple guidelines, you can take control of your time and achieve your goals.

There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 168 hours in a week. However, it is not necessarily about how much we have, but rather the way in which we use it. It is important to note that time cannot be saved or stored. The bottom line is how well we use it.

  • Goal setting
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Decision making
  • Delegating
  • Scheduling

Plan Each Day
Planning your day can not only help you accomplish more, but also make you feel more in control of your life. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish for the day. Be sure to keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last minute rushes.

Some questions to think about when you are planning your time are:
  • Do you need time to prepare for studying?
  • What time of the day do you study best?
  • Do you plan out what you are going to study first?
  • Do you stick to study priorities once you set them up?
Prioritize Your Tasks
Time consuming, but relatively unimportant tasks, can consume a lot of your day. When prioritizing your tasks, ensure that you spend your time and energy on those tasks that are truly important to you by numbering each of the components in order from most to least important.

Here are some questions to consider when prioritizing your tasks:
  • What items must be done today?
  • What items can be rescheduled?
  • What can be delegated?
  • Which tasks most closely match my priorities and goals?
  • Which items can be eliminated?
Delegate Your Tasks
Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else. Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information to complete the task? However, it is important to be conscious of your timelines/deadlines and your expectations or goals for the project when delegating a task.
Limit Distractions
Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off all electronics to avoid distractions from your friends, family, or work via texts, phone calls, e-mails, etc.

Some of the most common distractions people report are:
  • E-mail
  • Phone calls and/or text messages
  • Internet
  • Other people
  • Work environment
  • Tiredness
  • Noise
Get Plenty of Sleep, Have a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly
A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time. Eating a balanced diet, exercising at least 60 minutes per day, and sleeping 7 to 9 hours each night can really help!

Say No to Nonessential Tasks
Don’t take on more than you can handle. Be sure to consider your goals and daily schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.

Here are some statements that are beneficial when turning down a task, job, invitation, etc.:
  • “I appreciate that you thought of me, but I cannot do…”
  • “I respect the fact that you want me to attend; please respect the fact that I cannot.”
  • “I am touched that you invited me, but I must decline.”
  • “I would love to, but my schedule will not allow it.”
  • “Although that sounds great, I can’t give it 100%, so, I must pass.”
Poor time management skills are often a direct result of procrastination. A basic definition of procrastination is putting off the things that you should be doing now. Try to beat stress by living a more organized life!

Steps to curing procrastination:
  • Identify your goals--both short term and long term.
  • Reward yourself when you have completed a goal. For example, if you study for 2 hours, take a 30 minute walk outside.
  • Know when to ask for help from professors, friends in class, RA’s or other on-campus services such as the Counseling Center, Career Services, HERC, or the Student Success Center.
  • Handle big projects or papers in steps. No need to tackle it all in 1-2 days.
  • Carry and utilize a planner.
  • Start NOW!
The Health Education Resource Center wants to help you in reducing some of the stress of midterm week, exams, and college life! We will have stress balls, sleep kits, healthy recipes, and relaxation coloring sheets available for all students to use and take with them. See below for the dates and times!
  • October 10th: Bridge Lounge of the MLK Union from noon to 3 PM
  • October 11th: Lawson Hall lobby from noon to 3 PM
  • October 17th: Pavilion between Klehm & Lumpkin Hall from noon to 3 PM
  • October 18th: Thomas Hall lobby from noon to 3 PM 
Request a time management presentation today and the HERC staff will come to you! Whether it is for a residence hall, a Registered Student Organization, class, or other groups, the staff will provide tips, information, and interactive discussions about good time management habits. Visit www.eiu.edu/herc and fill out the form under “Request Form.”

If you feel as though you need to speak to a counselor, please contact the Counseling Center at (217) 581-3413 or stop by the Human Services Building. If you would like to make an appointment to see a medical provider, please contact the Health Service at (217) 581-3013 or visit www.eiu.edu/health.

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