Finding the Time: Time Management Skills

Job stress comes from a lot of different locations. Some of them are outside of your control, but a few are within it. One source of job stress for many people is poor time management. We are all guilty of it, and sometimes it makes our lives far more difficult than they need to be. However, today I challenge you to manage your time better. And to help you do that, here are five tips for managing your time in your job and reducing stress along the way.

  1. If it can be done in 5 minutes, do it now. I am a notorious avoider. I avoid sending emails because they cause me stress, and I avoid hanging up my coats because finding an empty hanger is its own special kind of stressful. However, what I’ve found is that my avoidance habits actually cause me more stress in the long run than if I’d simply done the thing in the first place. So, if you have something you’re avoiding and it only takes five minutes, do it now. Send that email. Hang up your coat properly. Schedule that meeting with your boss. Do it now. It will get that stress off your plate, and hopefully free up some space in your brain and schedule.
  2. Do the hard stuff first. Multiple studies have shown that our decision making ability decreases throughout the day. Even worse, this phenomenon known as decision fatigue does not discriminate between big decisions and little decisions. That’s right, choosing your outfit for the day can be just as tiring as deciding which job to take in two different states. However, you have more energy for decision making earlier in the day. So start the day off doing the tasks that require the most mental energy. Not only will you be happy to finish the task, but you will have done it more effectively because you did it early!
  3. Outline your day. Right before I go to sleep, my brain is buzzing with all the tasks I have to take care of the next day. What I have started doing is keeping a notepad and pencil next to my bed, writing down all of my to-dos, and scheduling them in for the next day. This proves extremely helpful, especially when I have a lot to do; rather than suddenly remembering that I need to make potatoes for the potluck, I can happily wait until 4:30 when I have scheduled a block of time to do so.
  4. Delete, Archive, Unsubscribe. Email can become a perpetual source of stress. New emails come in daily, and some urgent things get lost under piles of non-essential information. So once a week, sit down with your metaphorical pruning shears and cut out some unimportant emails. Unsubscribe from clothing store sales emails. Delete that reminder email from months ago. And when you have to keep an email around, but you don’t have to refer to it right now, either put it in its own folder or archive it. That will keep your inbox clean and free from unnecessary clutter.
  5. Set a time limit. Unless something REALLY has to get done RIGHT NOW, then most of the time it’s safe to put it away for a little bit. Especially when working on big projects, set a time limit for how long you’ll spend on them and, when the time goes off, put the project away. You’ll get more done working on it a bit at a time than you will throwing yourself at it all at once.

If you are looking into moving into a different career niche, interested in learning about networking and LinkedIn, or hoping to make a career transition, we might be a great fit for you! Email us at We offer free initial consultations and have helped hundreds of career changers make successful transitions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group