• Jennifer Ryam

How planning effectively can help reduce stress

Stress in the workplace is a major concern, especially as now, for many of us, the workplace is now our home. It can be tempting to try to do ‘all the things’ and work-life and home-life become merged. It's not good for our bodies and it's certainly not good for our mind. Working yourself to the bone might get you results faster, but you aren't going to be well enough to enjoy the success. Your work will suffer and all of that extra time you put in when you weren't looking after yourself will be wasted anyway.

Planning effectively can help reduce the amount of stress you are under and help you to keep your work and personal lives separate. Here are a few tips to help you plan your days more effectively:

  • Plan your day the night before. If you wake up knowing exactly what you need to do, and in what order, you are much more likely to get them done.

  • Keep your to-do list small. Try and give yourself a 'top three'. Three things that you want to achieve that day - and if you achieve them, you can consider your day a productive one. Having a to-do list that's never ending is one of the biggest causes of stress and procrastination. You can feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.

  • Do the hardest or most uncomfortable tasks first. It's very tempting to do all of the tasks you enjoy doing first and the hard ones get put off until another day. If you tackle those difficult tasks first, you are more likely to get through them because you are building up to the ones you enjoy.

  • Reward yourself! Completed a goal? Treat yourself to a chapter of your new book, an episode of your favourite show or even just a coffee break.

  • Take a break. Working yourself to the bone is only going to end in burn-out. Take regular breaks throughout the day and make sure you have at least one day a week where you switch off and take some 'me' time.

  • Review your plans regularly – on a weekly basis if possible. Take note of what is working well and what needs adjusting.

When it comes to planning your day, the main thing is to be flexible. Remember, life happens. Don’t beat yourself up or put yourself under unnecessary stress if you need to change your plans. Your plans are there to help you, not be the cause of more stress.

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