Too much to do and not enough time

Feeling that there is not enough time to do all the things one needs to do can build stress and anxiety and ultimately, affect a person’s overall mental health. When someone is overwhelmed with tasks and lacks the time to accomplish them, it can influence their mood, relationships, and productivity. Not having the proper time to deal with the struggles of the daily demands of work, family, school, and other responsibilities can leave a person feeling anxious. Effective time management strategies can help alleviate stress and allow a person the leisure time to take care of personal needs.

Distractions can be a major hindrance to time management. It is easy to be sidetracked when the television is on, email or text notifications come through, the phone or doorbell rings or other people are in the room with you. Some people need music or background noise to work efficiently. Others prefer a quieter environment. Find a place where the ambiance fosters productivity. Everyone is different. Figure out what helps you be more productive and get tasks done. Establish your boundaries to ensure that you manage your time.

  • Designate certain times of the day to answer emails. Of course, there will be emails that need immediate attention, but for the most part, many can wait until a less busy time of the day for you to respond.
  • If you work in your own office, it can be easy for someone to come in and sit in an empty chair and overstay their welcome. However, if there is an item on that chair, the person may think twice about sitting on the chair and will be more inclined to keep their visit short.  
  • Limit cell phone use. Cell phones have become a necessity, especially for emergency purposes so we cannot completely disconnect from them. The phone constantly ringing or notification chimes going off can get distracting. Putting your phone away and looking at it only at designated times can help your productivity throughout the day.
  • Protect your time by learning to kindly say “no”. When asked to take on another task or assist someone, think about how adding that to your to-do list will affect you. Do not overwhelm yourself because saying no makes you feel uncomfortable. It is understandable that you cannot always comply, so politely say “no” or “I cannot at this time”.
  • Make a daily schedule for yourself and keep to it, allowing for breaks so that you can remove yourself from the routine for a little bit and re-energize. Coming back with fresh eyes and mind might help you get the job done. Plan your time and add a cushion as things do not always go as planned.

Another culprit that interferes with time management is having so much to do and not knowing where to start or what tasks to do first. Making a prioritized list of tasks that need to be completed can help. Furthermore, assigning whether they are urgent and/or important can allow one to visualize what should be completed first, what can be delegated, what can wait for another time, and what can be eliminated from the list altogether. Focus your time on the items that are both urgent and important. Delegate those that are urgent, but not important. Designate a later time to work on important items that are not urgent. Steer clear from those that are not urgent and not important.

In order to effectively manage your time and lessen your stress, it is important to identify the issue so you can find the proper solution.