Stress Management For Dummies
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One great way of creating awareness about your time management is to have some questions ready to ask yourself. These can free you from the grip of auto-pilot and set a more productive course. Here are a few to help you get started:

  • “Am I making the best use of my time right now?”

  • “Am I procrastinating and avoiding doing something more important?”

  • “Could I be doing what I’m doing in a more efficient way?”

  • “Could I delegate or share this task with someone else?”

  • “Do I really need to check my e-mail so frequently?”

  • “Do I really need to be on the Internet right now?”

  • “Should I really be watching TV right now?”

Rather than answer these questions with a simple yes or no, expand your answer to include additional material that either strengthens your rationale for doing what you plan to do or provides you with strong counter-arguments motivating you to spend your time doing something else. For example, your internal dialogue might sound something like this:

“Okay, I’m about to pick up the TV remote. Is there something on now that I really want to watch? Not really. I’m a little bored and am avoiding doing stuff that I really should be doing. Watching TV is fine, but not right now. What could I be doing now that could be more important, more satisfying, or even more fun? What about hitting the gym or finishing that article? Watch TV later when there’s something good on, and use it as a reward for doing other things first.”

By introducing this “wise voice,” you create a strong ally that can defend or revise how you spend your time. This makes it more difficult to be seduced by your avoidant automatic behavior. This awareness and self-talk makes it more likely that your use of time will be productive and worthwhile.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Allen Elkin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of The Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City. Nationally known for his expertise in the field of stress and emotional disorders, he has appeared frequently on Today, Good Morning America, and Good Day New York.

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