With back to school underway, we understand that stress levels are rising, and that items of convenience may take priority over everything else. Setting up new schedules just to get out the door on time and juggling the balance of making dinner while overseeing homework can be hard.
In times of stress, your physical and mental health take a back seat to what needs to be done “right now.” But over time, ignoring your health can lead to significant problems.
But we’ll tell you the hack: achieving a high level of productivity with your limited time can help you achieve more while giving you buffer time in your day to re-center and take care of your health needs.
As working professionals and parents here at Dr. Ku’s office, we know that every moment matters. Below are some of our favorite tricks and tips that are sure to boost your productivity and health—hand-in-hand! We’re always looking for new ways to lower stress levels, so be sure to leave us a comment on Facebook with what helps keep you on track during stressful seasons.
You control your calendar
Being in control of your calendar (instead of letting your calendar control you) may seem like a commonsense piece of advice. However, woven into this idea are several smaller components that will help you with time management.
- First, share your calendar with your family. This could be a shared outlook or Google calendar that everyone puts their events on. Try color coding to quickly identify who is needed at each event. Sharing calendars helps prevent against double-booking time slots and ensuring there is enough time to get from soccer to ballet without excessive teeth grinding while battling traffic.
- Having a family calendar will also let you schedule family breaks.
- And whenever you can, block off a full Saturday or Sunday and take it as a day to recharge.
- Finally, learn to say no when your calendar is getting full. While someone may invite you to participate in a great volunteer opportunity, if there isn’t the time in the day or if it will increase your stress levels, just say no. We feel too obligated to accept every invitation. It is ok to decline opportunities for the sake of your health.
Turn off notifications
The constant pinging or buzzing of your phone is enough to drive any stable person up a wall. We understand that it isn’t always possible to completely turn your phone off, but turning off the notifications—especially to the applications you know don’t need your immediate attention—allows you to focus on each task at hand instead of looking at breaking news notifications, new emails or texts that bombard your phone.
When you are able to focus on detail-intensive work, you will notice that without the constant buzzing you are able to finish your work faster and more accurately.
Use the two-minute rule
It’s inevitable that small to-dos pop up that can easily derail your productivity. Consider the two-minute rule as your guide to determine what can be done now and what tasks should be added to your to-do list.
For example, say you’ve needed to validate a new credit card for a week. Unfortunately, you kept putting it off. This would be considered a two-minute task. And when you saw this morning that it needed to be done, you should have called and validated it right away. You would no longer have that nagging feeling that you really should do it, and in total, you know it will take 90 seconds. One less thing for your mental to-do list.
Batch similar tasks together
To make your day run more smoothly, consider batching similar tasks together. For example, if you’re cooking and waiting for water to boil, take that time to empty the dishwasher or start to make lunches for the next day. This will allow you to remain in the same area (the kitchen) and use minutes that you would have otherwise “wasted” if you had just waited for the water to boil.
This can also be applied in professional settings where you work on all the tasks related to one subject area before moving on.
Our goal is to help you reduce your stress levels and though that see health (and dental!) benefits. The side-effects of stress can cause serious oral problems as well as other physical problems, so it is important to practice productivity and a healthy living lifestyle.
Also published on Medium.