Recovering professionals must balance ongoing recovery and work. This makes workplace-related stress management paramount. Sometimes you can achieve this balance by completing simple tasks, such as packing a lunch, getting to work on time, and using breaks during the workday to relax. These tasks all involve the same skill—time management. Good time management is a key life skill and an essential component of stress management.
Signs of Poor Time Management at Work
Time management refers to a structured and routinized system to help you organize tasks to achieve a balanced rhythm in life. You can use many tools to implement good time management, but overall, it is about realistic goal-setting. For example, you might break down a major task into smaller milestones each week. This keeps you on track with a large project without becoming overwhelmed.
Good time management does not mean that you constantly need to stay busy with work-related tasks. Too much busyness, especially for people in recovery, can be emotionally and physically taxing to the point that the risk of relapse heightens. Poor time management may lead to a lack of balance in work and life. Below are a few signs of increased stress due to ineffective time management:
- Little or no sense of freedom in using time at your current pace of work
- Missing appointments or deadlines despite constant efforts to catch up
- Staying busy to avoid processing difficult emotions
- Bringing work to finish at home and having little time for social life
- Feeling disorganized and disoriented on a day-to-day basis at work
- Becoming overwhelmed and unable to tackle all tasks
Mental Health Benefits of Managing Your Time Well
Poor time management may negatively impact your self-esteem and mental well-being. Conversely, effective time management can bring many emotional and mental health benefits. As you are in recovery from addiction, good time management is a must-have life skill to help you manage stress and prevent relapse. Many treatment centers offer life skill classes that address this topic.
Effectively managing your time at work can help you rebuild the healthy work-life balance necessary during recovery. You may want to spend more focused and quality time with your family while being able to manage your full-time job. Maybe you need to regularly attend peer support meetings after work to keep up your recovery progress. Building in times of relaxation outside of work requires effective time management.
Furthermore, better time management at work reduces stress and improves sleep quality. Many people, including those who have never struggled with substance addiction, may suffer work-related anxiety that sneaks into their sleep patterns. An inability to leave work tasks at work can make some people miss essential hours of quality sleep. For people in recovery, quality sleep is a top self-care priority. Nothing should be allowed to compromise this essential self-care and recovery management aspect. Therefore, implementing time management strategies at work can improve your sleep quality.
Practical Advice for Effective Time Management at Work
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to good time management, you can benefit from some general skills. First, learn how to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. Then, sort out your weekly calendar to reflect these priority categories.
Secondly, work with your manager to set a realistic timeline for completing tasks at work. It may be time to build some boundaries as to what you can and cannot take on. For example, if you work full-time, you have a 40-hour weekly obligation for work tasks. For the sake of your health, don’t commit to more workload than you can reasonably accomplish in that time.
Another important means of good time management is to eliminate distractions. Focus on one task at a time. Do not try to multi-task, as that will undermine your concentration on the individual tasks. Multitasking has proven to be detrimental to mental health. Refrain from compulsively checking emails or social media. Whether you are working on a top-priority task or one that’s more peripheral, block out a time to focus solely on that task.
Better time management also means including time during a workday to relax and retreat from work. Consider rest breaks and lunch breaks as essential self-care “must-dos.” Do not skip lunch or use that time to complete another task. Safeguarding these break times can allow for better work performance in the long run and better health outcomes.
In summary, use these time management tips:
- Break down tasks into manageable pieces and build them into your daily and weekly schedules
- Prioritize tasks so that you can focus on urgent or important ones
- Block out chunks of time to concentrate on a single task
- Set and safeguard boundaries around the workload you can take on
- Build self-care break times into your workday
Work-related stress often has to do with poor time management. For recovering individuals, time management is a key life skill to relearn. Laguna Shores Recovery provides life skills classes, which include time management training to support recovery in daily life. This is an important but often neglected aspect of relapse prevention. Luckily, our staff is here to help and support you. We customize treatment plans for you with important treatment modalities such as detox, medication, 12-Step groups, and relationship skills coaching. Our staff is also experienced in helping you transition into long-term recovery mode. We also offer an outpatient program to support you in achieving long-term health. Call us at (954) 329-1118.
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