Combat time stress

Time pressures are a major stress agent in our lives. But why, when we have so many time-saving devices, and more holidays and vacation time, than 30 years ago?
Some people don’t actually take the holidays they are supposed to have. But many do–and still feel time stress.
One cause is the very time-saving tools we use! An example:
When we first brought a fax unit at Quetico Centre, that was great! With many projects on the go, I found it tough to meet deadlines. But sending something by fax gave me the extra days the mail would have used up.
Relief! A few days respite helped a lot.
But that happened everywhere. Now, when a client asks for a proposal or program outline and I ask, “By when do you need it?” I get “Umm . . . tomorrow?”
All the deadlines have shrunk due to the immediacy of e-mail.
Same at home. You can whip up a nutritious dinner in 20 minutes with salad-in-a-bag, frozen lasagna, breadmaker on a timer, yogurt, and fruit.
But you rush around in those 20 minutes because that’s all you have between picking up kids from day care or sports, an evening meeting, etc.
Everything can be done faster, and then it has to be done faster.
But not everything should be. Some things take longer:
oexploration time for creativity;
odiscussion time for involvement and commitment from those who implement the ideas;
o”sleeping on” time to sort something out;
oreflection and organizing time to get it right; and
osavouring time to enjoy life.
I don’t just suggest that you “take time to smell the flowers on the path of life.” That, too.
More, I suggest you review what has long-term importance to you, and give that the time it really takes. Do that for your family, do that at work. Then let time-saving tools help you with the rest.
The groups that come to Quetico Centre, and those thinking about it, are usually working on important projects. Their issues are worth taking the time it takes and making it quality time.
They know that if they don’t do that and don’t get quality results, the time they do take is wasted. It’s also energy and money wasted.
People tell us what they get far more and better work done at Quetico Centre in a couple of days than just about anywhere else. We know how precious time is, and we help people make it count.
To combat time stress for a better present and future, apply the Time Use Matrix:
1. Reflect on what is truly important in your life. Insist on the amount and quality of time that takes. Set aside enough time for what is “Important but not urgent” (this is hard to do).
2. Spend a lot of time on what’s “Important and urgent.” Some of this is from (1) that was not done and has now become urgent. You may be in a crisis management mode.
If so, try hard to do more #1 things.
3. “Urgent but not important.” Most people spend a lot of time on this. Not good! Try ignoring some altogether. Don’t pick up that phone. Learn to say “no.” Try giving tasks to someone for whom they are new and challenging.
4. Spend very little time on “Neither important nor urgent.” Cut out what you don’t like.
What you do like, such as the occasional “puttering,” tidying, or rummaging, enjoy! Don’t spoil it with guilt feelings. Different things are important to different people. Clarify what you want most, and try to control your time us more.
Every success will reduce your stress.

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