If you are one of us who says “Yes” every time someone asks if you want to do something, then you are your own worst enemy. A primary cause of stress is feeling the pressure of time. The more we try to cram into a day, the more we become aware of how time can fly by or how much longer it takes to do something than we thought it would.
If you are one of us, then…
• You make daily lists of what you need to do but you rarely – if ever – manage to cross off all the things you listed for a single day.
• You get cross or upset with yourself when you don’t finish your list.
• You feel stressed when you realize that it is now 3 o’clock and you are still on item #2.
• You are a lousy judge of how long it takes to do something.
To be fair, if I knew how to fix this problem, I would definitely do it myself. But, there are strategies that would work if we work them into a routine and remember to do it.
• Start by making your daily To Do List and then prioritizing the items by what is most important and what HAS to get done that day.
• Reorder the list and make an estimate of time for each item.
• Add up the time and multiply each by 1.5 because things always take longer.
• Set a start time and a finish time and then revisit your list and decide how many things can realistically be done in one day.
• Oh! And, put in lunch and rest breaks. Then go back and take something off the list because you probably did not account for lunch and break time.
I am not saying you will not feel stressed using such a system. I imagine you will because anyone who consistently over commits is likely to have too many “urgent” items for a day. And, they are also likely good at the self-talk that internally reminds us how much you still have to do and what dire consequences you will face if you don’t get it done today. So, I ask you, which is worse?
a.) Agreeing to bite off more than you can chew or,
b.) The internal self-talk that pressures you to hurry and threatens you with consequences?
If you said “b,” congratulations! I see a break in your future.