To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Stress Management: Managing Your Time


Table of Contents


Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.   Stress Management: Managing Your Time

Time management is a way to find the time for all the things you want and need to do. It helps you decide which things are urgent and which can wait. Learning how to manage your time, activities, and commitments can be hard. But doing so can make your life easier, less stressful, and more meaningful.

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  What is time management?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Why is it important to manage your time?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  How can you manage your time?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Where to go from here

What? - What is the medical information or key concepts related to the action?  What is time management?

Time management means taking control of your activities, duties, and commitments. When you manage your time, you decide which tasks and activities are most important to you based on your values. For example, you may place a high value on family life, but you may not be able to spend as much time with your family as you want. Knowing what's important to you helps you decide how best to spend your time. Managing your time helps you reduce stress.

There are three parts to time management:

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Time management means taking control of tasks and activities.

    1. True.

      This answer is correct.

      Time management means taking control of your tasks and activities. When you manage your time, you decide which of these tasks and activities are most important to you.

    2. False.

      This answer is incorrect.

      Time management means taking control of your tasks and activities. When you manage your time, you decide which of these tasks and activities are most important to you.


  2. Putting things off until the last minute is one of the tips for prioritizing tasks.

    1. True.

      This answer is incorrect.

      Putting things off until the last minute is procrastinating, not prioritizing. When you prioritize, you decide which tasks and activities are most important.

    2. False.

      This answer is correct.

      Putting things off until the last minute is procrastinating, not prioritizing. When you prioritize, you decide which tasks and activities are most important.


Why? - Why the action is important?  Why is it important to manage your time?

It's stressful to feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Spending a lot of time on things that aren't important to you also leads to stress. Time management can help you feel more in control of how you spend your time. When you feel in control, you reduce stress.

Prioritizing tasks and activities may help you find the time to exercise, read a book, take a class, or do other things that you really want to do. Controlling procrastination can help you get things done, such as a big project at work. When you manage your commitments, you commit to the things that are most important to you, and you let go of the things that are less important. All of these things can reduce stress.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Prioritizing tasks, controlling procrastination, and managing commitments can reduce stress.

    1. True.

      This answer is correct.

      Doing any or all three of these things—prioritizing tasks, controlling procrastination, and managing commitments—can reduce stress.

    2. False.

      This answer is incorrect.

      Doing any or all three of these things—prioritizing tasks, controlling procrastination, and managing commitments—can reduce stress.


How? - Learn the steps involved in taking action.  How can you manage your time?

You can start managing your time by prioritizing tasks, controlling procrastination, and managing your commitments.

Prioritize tasks

Make a list of all your tasks and activities for the day or week. Then rate these tasks by how important or urgent they are.

After you have your list and have rated the items, think about how you are spending your time. If you take care of important tasks in a timely way, you won't have as many urgent tasks to worry about. For example, if you pay your bills when you get them, you won't have to juggle your finances and hurry to pay bills the day they are due.

Think about how you can redirect your time to activities that are important and meaningful to you. Are you spending a lot of time on things that aren't important or urgent? Maybe there are things that you don't need to do at all.

Control procrastination

The more stressful or unpleasant a task, the more likely you are to put it off. This only increases your stress. You may want to try these tips for controlling procrastination:

If you find a tip that works for you, stay with it. Over time you'll gain confidence that you can beat the procrastination habit.

You may still slip up sometimes and find yourself putting things off. That's okay. Don't blame yourself. Confidence and positive thinking can help you get back on track.

Manage your commitments

Both too many and too few commitments can lead to stress.

Letting go of a commitment doesn't mean giving up. It means learning what's important to you, recognizing that you have limits, and deciding how you want to spend your time. Here are some tips for letting go:

Making commitments can be just as hard as letting them go. People who are under stress tend to have too many commitments instead of too few. But sometimes stress comes from a lack of commitment. If you need more commitment in your life, think about what is most important to you. When you are ready to commit:

Test Your Knowledge

  1. If I spend more time taking care of important tasks, I won't be as stressed worrying about things that have to be done right away.

    1. True.

      This answer is correct.

      When you take care of important tasks in a timely way, such as paying bills when they come in, your list of urgent tasks may get smaller. Having fewer tasks that you have to do right away can reduce stress.

    2. False.

      This answer is incorrect.

      When you take care of important tasks in a timely way, such as paying bills when they come in, your list of urgent tasks may get smaller. Having fewer things that you have to do right away can reduce stress.


  2. One way to approach a big project is to break it up into smaller tasks.

    1. True.

      This answer is correct.

      Breaking up large tasks is one way to control procrastination. If you know you won't be able to focus on a project for 3 hours, break up your work into 1-hour blocks over 3 days.

    2. False.

      This answer is incorrect.

      Breaking up large tasks is one way to control procrastination. If you know you won't be able to focus on a project for 3 hours, break up your work into 1-hour blocks over 3 days.


  3. Good time management means waiting to start a task until you have the time to do it perfectly.

    1. True.

      This answer is incorrect.

      You don't have to be perfect. If you demand perfection, you may never get to work on a task. Remember that doing your best is fine. Giving yourself enough time to do your best will reduce stress.

    2. False.

      This answer is correct.

      You don't have to be perfect. If you demand perfection, you may never get to work on a task. Remember that doing your best is fine. Giving yourself enough time to do your best will reduce stress.


Where? - Other resources and organizations that can help you take action.  Where to go from here

Now that you have some ideas for how to manage your time, you can try to prioritize tasks, control procrastination, and manage commitments at work and at home. If you often find yourself struggling with procrastination, there are outside resources that can help. College students can find services on campus, and some employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that can help you learn to better manage your time.

Credits for Stress Management: Managing Your Time

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised May 3, 2013

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.