I have delivered more than 600 presentations on Stress, Time, and Procrastination Management.  People often ask me, “How are time and stress connected?”

If you have poor time management skills it will create pressure for deadline-driven projects.  Sometimes people focus on fun and trivial activities rather than important tasks.  If it feels like you are always running a little bit behind, or that tasks are slipping through the cracks, and you’re letting your team down, stress can’t be far behind.  Prioritize tasks and don’t waste time on silly escape activities.

Then people follow up and ask, “So, what are five stress management techniques?”  Here are my five favorite physical remedies for managing stress.

One:  Get organized.  Some research claims people spend 45 minutes per day, personally and professionally combined, just looking for things.  That’s six work weeks a year just looking for things.  What did your parents used to say?  A place for everything and everything in its place; awfully good advice.  I don’t know if it will take you two hours, two days, or two weeks, but get organized.

Two:  Proper diet.  Try to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet rather than candies, cookies, and cakes.  Also try to include a balance of grains, protein, and dairy.

Three:  Exercise.  Apply these five elements to your exercise program.  It has to be something that causes you to move; that’s real important in an exercise program.  It has to be something that causes you to breathe deeply, to get the aerobic benefit.  It has to be something that causes you to bend, to put elasticity back into your muscles and ligaments.  It has to be something you enjoy and is at your pace.  That’s an exercise program that will last a lifetime.

Four:  Massage.  Massage can relieve stress, if you don’t mind people touching you.  Virtually every symptom of stress can benefit from massage, from lowering the heart rate, to relaxing the muscles, to the releasing of endorphins.

Five:  Take walking breaks at work and home.  Walking together at work feels like you are working cooperatively together to deal with issues.  Also, take walking breaks with your family.  Don’t stink up the dining room table with conflict.  Go for a walk and talk about family struggles.  Protect the dining room table for positive family exchanges rather than conflict situations.

People usually ask, “What are the four stress management techniques that are psychological strategies for managing stress?”

One:  Nickname.  Give yourself a nickname that you like, not the nickname that other people have given you.  It is just enough of a psychological pick-me-up to diminish your stress levels.  A nickname frees us up to be a little more playful or action-oriented.

Two:  Reading.  Reading can reduce stress, especially if you select something you enjoy.  The University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes has been shown to reduce stress by 68 percent.  Reading relaxes the body by lowering the heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles.

Three:  Positive Affirmations.  Positive affirmations can be a powerful tool to reduce stress, to increase feelings of personal power, and to support change and transition.  Pay yourself a compliment.

Four:  Laughter.  I think laughter is good medicine.  As they say, “A laugh a day keeps the doctor away.”  Laughter is a wonderful strategy to relieve stress, and I’m not kidding.  Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

So, back to time management.  I often get asked, “How can someone learn simple strategies to prioritize tasks and improve time management in order to manage stress?”

One of the simple strategies you can use to prioritize tasks is to approach your to-do list like an NCAA sports bracket.  Just like two teams competing with each other, it’s the same way with our tasks.  So, between these two tasks, which one is most important.  Out of the next two which one is most important.  Then between the last two, which one wins.  It’s a quick and easy way to break the deadlock of our thoughts and take-action.  Taking-action is how we improve time management in order to manage stress.  Action removes anxiety.

Finally, “How can the amount of time a project takes increase stress levels?”

When projects drag on, stress levels often rise.  Be prepared to make decisions about what’s good enough and reduce the chronic stress.  There is a principle in time management that claims that how much time you allow, is how much time you will take.  So, my question always is, why take so much time?  Projects are usually based on these three things:  quickness, quantity, and quality.  If quickness or the deadline changes, then quantity or quality may need to be modified.  If quantity is changed, then quickness and quality may need to be adjusted.  If quality is changed, then quickness or quantity may have to give.  Be decisive.  It’s your ability to make decisions that gives you the ability to control your time.

If you need to find a motivational keynote speaker, plenary speaker, breakout speaker, concurrent session speaker, seminar leader, or workshop facilitator who can deliver in-person, virtually, or via prerecorded session, Kit Welchlin earned an M.A. (Master of Arts Degree in Speech Communication), the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association), the CVP (Certified Virtual Presenter Designation from eSpeakers), and is a nationally recognized professional motivational speaker and author and can be found at www.welchlin.com.