Stress Less With This Time Management Technique

April 20, 2018

I constantly encourage people to email me, and/or message me on Instagram or Facebook if they have therapy or mental health questions (or any questions for that matter!) because you are the people I want to be a resource to…you are the people who matter to me.  If something is troubling you or causing you […]

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I'm a foster + adoptive + bio mama to 4, and a psychotherapist in private practice.  I'm here to help you deal with all the feels on your foster care journey.  Welcome!


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I constantly encourage people to email me, and/or message me on Instagram or Facebook if they have therapy or mental health questions (or any questions for that matter!) because you are the people I want to be a resource to…you are the people who matter to me.  If something is troubling you or causing you stress, I’m here to help!  And even if you’re not interested in a monthly check in with me or my book or Etsy shop, I still want to help you!  The whole reason I started blogging was to be a resource to as many people as possible, and I love how social media especially has enabled me to do that! 
That said, a dear reader reached out to me via Instagram the other day and shared that she was having trouble breaking the cycle of being stressed about everything she has to get done, but then being so tired from the stress that she loses motivation to get started on her work.  This is a really common problem for a lot of people; it’s really hard to feel motivated if you’re feeling stressed.  And side note:  I love how this person said it’s a stress cycle… because it is.  
For starters, here are a few things to consider:
1. Think about what you have tried to help you combat this stress cycle in the past.  Why do you think those techniques haven’t worked for you? 
2. Think about a time when this was not a struggle for you.  What was your life looking like at the time when stress and time management weren’t a problem for you? Maybe it was all the way back to when you were a child; maybe it was just a year or two ago.  If you can, try to take aspects of that time in your life and apply them to now.  So maybe when you were a child you just spent a lot more time doing self-care (though at the time you might have simply referred to it as playing) and life felt more balanced to you.  From there, you could determine: I know I need to do my work but I also do need to have time for me.  
Unfortunately, there’s no magic motivation pill that will solve this problem for you. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, yes you need to do your work but you also need to take time for you.  Until you resolve the stress issue, it’s going to be very difficult for you to find motivation.  So think about what you can do to practice self-care. If you’re in need of some inspiration, you can sign up here to get a FREE 65 Suggestions For Self-Care Printable:

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Give me alll the self-care ideas!



You can check out more info on how to increase your productivity to reduce your stress here because it pretty much goes without saying that by being more productive you can reduce your stress.  When you get things done you feel good; you feel productive.  And that, in turn, motivates you. Essentially, this is cognitive behavioral therapy – you have to make yourself do that thing that you don’t want to do in order to get the feelings that you want, which in this case are feeling peaceful and productive.  
Because we are generally motivated by rewards, here is a list of  25 ways to reward yourself for a job well done that may also be helpful. You can tell yourself “as soon as I get this project done, I’m going to reward myself with listening to some music and a candle and a cup of coffee” or whatever it is that’s motivating for you (hygge, anyone?). Give yourself something to work towards and you may find your motivation increasing by leaps and bounds.
Lastly, I just found about a time management technique called a “timed list” while at a conference in Washington, D.C. last month.  The seminar itself was all about stopping rumination, and interrupting anxious thoughts.  The timed list, in particular is designed to combat thoughts related to the fear that you won’t get everything done that needs to get done in a given day.  
So here’s what you do:  write down everything that you need to do in your day.  Next, look at your list and re-prioritize it in order or importance. Then, write down how long you think each task will take next to each one.  So if it’s doing the dishes maybe it’s 10 minutes; if it’s running errands maybe it’s an hour, and by all means, if you need to take a nap, put in “take a nap” for 30-60 minutes! 
Now look at your schedule and each item on your to-do list cut off your list when your time constraints force you to do so. Realistically, do you actually have enough time, based on the time you think it’s going to take you to do these things, to do all the things on your list?  If not, then maybe you need to start thinking about moving some tasks over to tomorrow.  
This method reduces worry for people because you’re not thinking “will I have time?” You already know “NOPE! I don’t have time for that today!”  Or, “yesss!  I will get to all the things today!” It brings you a sense of relief and peace because you know for certain whether or not something is going to get done.  
It may seem like it will take more time to do this than to just start in on your tasks, and I know some of you might be thinking this sounds like too much work.  However, if you try this method, it might work for you!  Sometimes you need to try a few different things before you find the thing that works best for you, and that’s fine.  Just remember to keep trying until you find something that works. 
Have a wonderful (and productive!) weekend, my friends!  And if you’re looking for something to do tonight, join me over on Facebook for a Facebook live at 8:08 pm (EST).  You can ask me anything at all and I’ll do my best to help!

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