Over the last few weeks, we have discussed Stress, anger and time, by now you should realise that these three things are closely related. You get stressed out because you do not have enough time to do your job. You become angry with other people because they are demanding your attention when you are already running as fast as you can to keep you with all the demands made on you. It is impossible to eliminate all stressors or all anger and equally impossible to add more time to the day.
Here are some simple techniques you can start using to manage your time. If you start practicing these daily, you will soon reap the rewards
To help manage stress, anger, and time, you need to know as much as you can about how you spend your time, what your major stressors are, and what makes you angry. An effective way to discover these factors is to take the time to do an audit. To learn from these audits, you must do the following:
- Determine how often you are stressed and/or angry.
- Determine how much time you are spending in various activities each day.
- Determine positive steps you can take to decrease your stress and anger and to use your time more productively.
- Practice effective stress, anger, and time management techniques.
By looking closely at how often you are stressed, angry, and short of time, you can determine what is and what is not working for you. You will then be able to develop plans to help you control the out-of-control factors.
Even though you might not give it much thought, you live by a set of values. Generally, you developed these values at an early age. Values are principles that guide your life, such as honesty, fairness, love, security, and belief in a higher being. If you have not given much thought to your values recently, try answering these questions:
- What are the highest priorities in my life?
- Of these priorities, which are the most important?
Your thoughtful answers to these questions will help you identify your values.
Many times you will not be able to do everything you are asked to do in one day. You must be able to distinguish the most important items, tasks that should be done first, from less important items, tasks that can wait until a later date. If you are new to a job, you may need help from your employer to determine what items are most important. But once you learn more about the job and your employer, you should be able to establish priorities on your own.
Prepare daily To-Do lists
Each afternoon before you leave work, you should prepare a to-do list for the next day. List all tasks, activities, and projects you need to accomplish the next day. Then review your list.
Mark the items in this manner:
- Most important matters – A
- Less important items – B
- Remaining items – C
Use down time
If you have down time, you should use it productively. Accomplish those tasks you have been unable to do during your peak workload periods. These tasks may be cleaning out your desk, rearranging files, organizing supplies, or reading articles related to your business or to the technology you use on your job.
Handle paperwork as few times as possible
Handling paper over and over – putting it in piles on your desk, reshuffling, re-handling, rereading-can be the biggest paperwork time waster. The basic rule is this – handle paper once. Read it, route it, file it, or answer it-but get it off your desk as quickly as possible without handling it repeatedly.
Complete work correctly the first time
At times, as an administrative professional, you may need to redo work you should have done correctly the first time. How do you prevent the need to redo work? Here are several suggestions:
- Get appropriate instructions or procedures before beginning the work.
- Read the file on similar correspondence.
- Understand the scope of the task. What is the final product to be? What expectations does your supervisor have?
- If it is a new task for you, talk with the person (if possible) who did the task before you. Listen carefully to any pointers or suggestions that person gives you.
These are just some of the things you can start using daily to help manage your time, anger and stress. Keep an eye out for our Ebook which will be launched next week for OPSA Members that will have even MORE information about how you can get a grip on your stressful days!