Now, remember stress, simply defined is the experience of feeling like you have too many things to do and not enough time to do them in. So, stress, essentially is an experience of overestimation of the work with an underestimation of time available.
In Part 1 of Stress, we discussed that it’s vitally important that you become very, very clear on what it’s going to take to finish.
When you first become clear, the second step of that is to give yourself a lot of time is to actually accomplish whatever goals are required or necessary.
So, let’s talk some about allotting the proper amount of time to complete work. One of the ways that I often do this with my clients is I will ask them to clarify a goal; they should get clear on what it’s going to take to make significant progress in a particular section or area. Than, the next thing I do is ask them about how long they think it will take them. Very often, I would say probably 80-90% of the time, the amount of time that they give themselves is too little to actually accomplish the goal. The way that I know that is because they sound really stressed out when I ask them for a time limit or a time frame.
So, when you feel stressed out by whatever timelines you’ve set, that’s a good indication that your timelines are possibly too stringent or that you’re work is too big for the time that you’ve given.
A good rule of thumb is to actually give yourself an extra hour or 1 ½ times the amount of time that you think it will take. So, if you think that something is going to take you an hour – give yourself 1 ½ hours. But than the trick is that you actually have to work for that 1 ½ hours and actually accomplish whatever the goal is. Now, that’s always the rub, isn’t it? That’s always what you have to do.
This quality of giving yourself a little bit of extra time to accomplish the goal will work very often to reduce your stress. So, remember that stress occurs when there is an overestimation or a lack of clarity on the work involved, as well as an underestimation of how much time it will actually take.
Now, most of us can accomplish great things when we put our minds to it. So, your goal, or your step, is to reduce your stress by understanding what it takes to finish, and than giving yourself enough time to actually do so.