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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

A Time Management Strategy to Reduce Stress

Image of a person holding a clock in each hand. There is a checklist of tasks behind each clock.

When it comes to time management, knowing the difference between what is urgent versus what is important is essential. Why? Because there is a marked difference between what is urgent and what is important. If you focus on the wrong one, or if you are continually diverting your attention between the two, chances are that your stress level will rise.

Think of it this way: An urgent task may not be very important in the long run; however, an urgent task may demand immediate attention. In contrast to something urgent, an important task is something that moves you toward your goal. Where do you think you should focus your attention for optimal time management and lower stress?

Before you answer that question, here is an example to put the difference in perspective. If the roof is leaking and water is dripping on your favorite reading chair, the urgent task is to move the chair—whereas the important task is to fix the leak.

Here is a simple example that deals with the difference between urgent and important as it refers to a more common situation. Assume you are working on an important project, and a creative, urgent idea suddenly pops into your head that has nothing to do with the task at hand. What should you do? Should you stop what you’re doing and attend to the urgent task? Or should you write down the creative idea and attend to it later?

If you leave the important task at hand to attend to a creative idea that seems urgent, your chances of promoting stress will often increase. You will also derail your time management. This is because you are asking your brain to work with the same neurons on two different tasks at the same time.

You have moved from single-tasking to multi-tasking. My newest book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey, details the difference between single-tasking and multi-tasking.

Today’s technological and information age is constantly occupying, creating, and competing for our attention, making time management more important than ever. Therefore, be mindful of what is urgent, what is important, and that which can be attended to at a later time.

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Live Without Stress

Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at PiperPress.com.

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Dr. Marvin Marshall
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