Great question Diane!
There are four places to find relief when you feel there are not enough hours in the day, there is too much to get done, and the stress of your workload is too much. As a recovering Type-A, I have a tendency to think that EVERYTHING needs to get done RIGHT NOW and by ME. If you have the same struggles, take a look at priorities, best use, taking a break, and trust.
Look over your to-do list. What is truly critical? When we get lost in the stress of our to-do’s we often don’t take a moment to determine if the task should even be on our list and if it needs to be done right now.
Create four quadrants on a sheet of paper and label the sections urgent-important, urgent-unimportant, not urgent-important, and not urgent-unimportant. Place each of your tasks in a quadrant. Now look at the urgent-important group. Is there enough time in your day to complete the tasks that are both urgent and important? Then look at not urgent-important and urgent-unimportant. Out of those items what is truly necessary to you to complete now? If you don’t have time to do it today, schedule a time to complete it. Take the not urgent-unimportant and either drop them in the trash or record them in a notebook. Look at the notebook once a month or once a quarter and determine if any of the items have moved up on the priority-importance scale.
Remember the quadrant tool and use it to prioritize any new projects before adding them to your list.
Look at the prioritized to-do list. What are the things you need to do yourself? Entrepreneurs, parents, and caregivers often feel such a strong responsibility and love for what they are doing that they put everything on their own to-do list. When the truth is, we are sometimes not the best person to make something happen. The result is that business owners get bogged down in the minutia of office busy work leaving them no time to focus on building and improving their business. When caring for another, there are sometimes not enough time in the day or what is needed to be done is outside our skillset. No matter your situation ask yourself if you are the right person to complete the task and if it is the best use of your skills and time. If the answer is no, find or hire someone else to complete it.
Take a Break
This may seem counterintuitive, but when we are stressed we are actually very unproductive. Go for a walk, do deep breathing, meditate, exercise, watch a funny cat video. By releasing the mind from the grip of stress, even for a few moments, you can gain mental clarity and re-energize yourself for those tasks that you really want to get done.
When I feel stress overcoming me I repeat the mantra, “Everything that needs to get done today will.” Hopefully you have shortened your to-do list by prioritizing and delegating projects, but if it still feels like there are not enough hours in the day to complete what you desire, instead of worrying that it won’t get done, trust that it will. It is amazing what this little mind game does. For me it removes the tight constrictive fear of stress. When that is gone, it feels like there are more hours in the day. Albert Einstein said, “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” Time is flexible depending on how we perceive it. Expand the number of hours in the day by telling yourself there are enough.
Hope this answers your question Diane and also helps others who feel behind the eight ball.
Are there tools you use? Share your thoughts and help others reduce stress.
Looking for more help? Check out From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction.