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Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at sends e-mail) or 301.275.0208.


The solution to handling stress often lies in better time management

March 13, 2018

if i ask 100 people the question, “are you feeling stressed?” 95 percent will say “yes.” If I ask “Has your level of stress increased over the years?” most will say “yes” again. 

While some stress can be positive, the levels I am seeing in many remodelers (and clients) is having a negative effect. This high stress is resulting in lower profits, frustrated clients and team member unhappiness. 

But this stress can be quantified and put into balance.

The Root Cause

Having studied and written about this topic, I believe that the biggest source of stress today is rooted in people feeling starved for time. Life moves much faster than it did in the past, and along with that speed comes people’s expectations of us. Calls and emails need to be returned within the hour, or at least the same day, or you run the risk of insulting someone or losing an opportunity.  

While we cannot slow down the world we live in, I can give you a few tips on reducing the stress caused by being time-starved. And for a deeper dive, you can pick up my new book on Amazon, Control Your Day Before It Controls You: The 7 Steps To Mastering Your Time.

1. PLAN. Less than 10 percent of people I interact with are effective daily planners. Most compile a “to do list,” but that is not a plan. There are many planning systems, and it’s important to use one if you are ever going to reduce stress and take control of your day. Most of us have never trained in the skill of daily planning, but fortunately, with just a little effort, it’s possible for almost anyone to master the practice.  

2. BE PROACTIVE. Being reactive wastes time. You can gain a dividend of 20 to 30 minutes a day by reducing reactiveness—which translates to more than 150 hours a year. A significant portion of a professional’s reactiveness comes from his or her clients, team, and alliances. So, on Monday morning, take just 30 minutes to proactively communicate to all of those who might want to communicate with you that week. Set times to connect or control a process to communicate back to you. While you will not bat 1,000, you will find that a lot of these interactions will result in proactive communications, meetings, or even just a thank you for your professionalism.

3. SAY “NO." Stress and wasting time can also be a product of not saying “no.” Think about how often you have looked at projects or tackled initiatives when you should have just gracefully said, “No.” Saying no is not unkind. Keep in mind that when you are asked to help or advise someone, it does not mean that you have to do it. Sometimes offering a referral is the better solution.

Being stressed is a choice. How you spend your time is the biggest factor in whether you increase or reduce this stress. If you control this dynamic, not only will you be less stressed but you can accomplish more, and feel happier and more fulfilled while you do it.

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