Learning & Development

A Simple Strategy for Tackling Recurring Time Crunches

Feeling rushed at work—or with any obligation—is often considered expected, but while it would be impossible to eliminate all stress from one’s work life, most people are probably dealing with more time-related stress than they need to be.

time management
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Often, people end up feeling rushed over the same commitments time and again. In this post, we’ll look at some simple steps to address these consistent time crunches.

Step 1: Document Times When You Feel Rushed

Keep a journal in which you document times you feel particularly time-crunched and rushed. This can be an after-the-fact recording once the dust settles, and it doesn’t need to be meticulous. Just jot down some high-level details:

  • What was the activity you were feeling rushed to complete?
  • What was the time of day, day of the week, month, etc.?
  • Was this a one-off, unexpected activity or a recurring and predictable event?

Step 2: Identify Patterns and Consistent Sources of Time Crunches

Based on your journal, try to identify any patters. For example, are you consistently feeling crunched leading up to a Monday morning meeting you lead? Are there quarterly sales reports that always cause you to work late?

Step 3: Track the Total Time to Complete ‘Crunch Time’ Activities

Do you start work 2 hours early to scramble to prep for that morning meeting? Do you wish you had an extra hour to complete the task to your standards? Make a note of those 3 additional hours. Do you typically spend an extra 10 hours at work the week leading up to quarter end? Track that time.

Step 4: Plan Ahead!

In truth, “planning ahead” is the core of this entire strategy. Admittedly, it’s not always possible to plan ahead, as sometimes last-minute items or emergencies pop up and work can’t be started until certain dependencies are completed, limiting your available time. But in many cases, we feel rushed simply because we didn’t plan ahead, and that’s entirely within our control to address.

Feeling rushed obviously leads to high levels of stress. While there are inevitably going to be some unexpected stressful situations, there are some that can be avoided by simply planning ahead.