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Three easy ways to carve more time from your stress-filled day, week and life

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Nine out ten women – whether they’re in or out of work – feel stressed most of the time, a new study has found.

The National Lifestyle Stress Audit, carried out by Neom Organics, surveyed 1,034 women in the UK and found that 96 per cent of us not only feel stressed, but also suffer from side effects including tiredness, insomnia and slumps of unhappiness.

But according to most of the women who responded to the survey, there’s a very obvious solution – more time. Some 60 per cent believed that if they had more time during the day, they’d feel less pressured.

One in two women even confessed to neglecting their health, because they felt that they didn't have enough time to get everything done.

Their responses are summed up in this infographic: 

Neom National Lifestyle Stress Audit Infographic

With that in mind, here are three simple yet effective ways to feed more time into your busy life:


1. Ask yourself, ‘am I doing things that give my life meaning?’

WORK

Feeling as though there’s not enough time in the day inevitably means you’re overloading your plate. But while some things just can’t give, there may be others you’re trying to cram in which just aren’t necessary.

Richard Blonna, coach, counsellor and author of Stress Less, Live More: How Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Can Help You Live a Busy Yet Balanced Life, suggests asking yourself these questions of your extra-curricular activities; ‘Do they mesh with my goals and values? Am I doing things that give my life meaning?’

It might be that you loved running once, but now it’s merely an added stress factor. In which case you should look at dropping it out of your schedule completely, or trading it for something that’ll make you happier and more relaxed, like yoga or swimming.


2. Only make good-quality lists

Written to do list

When it comes to list making, many of us would consider ourselves a pro. But do you ever add something to the list just to earn yourself an easy tick? While the bigger stuff continues to be ignored?

‘We waste time on menial chores and tasks just to have a sense of accomplishment,’ says Forbes business expert Vanessa Loder. 'Over time, this makes us much less effective at our job.’

‘In my opinion, about 85% of the population is using the To Do list in a completely ineffective manner,’ she adds, noting how the blur between quality and quantity is often the problem.

Though a lengthy to do list can look impressive, it can also become daunting and off-putting, meaning that halfway through the day, many of us start to look for smaller, albeit additional tasks to take on instead.

Vanessa suggests whittling down your daily priorities to just three good quality tasks, and asking yourself of each one, ‘will this make a difference today?’

With a smaller but better list, you’ll find that your productivity increases and less time is wasted.


3. Slow down

Woman breathing at computer

It sounds unhelpful but, says Eden Kozlowski, founder and CEO of mindfulness company Just Be, slowing down can actually help you achieve your goals much faster.

‘It's about breathing, taking breaks, noticing how your body is feeling as you go through your day, and giving yourself time to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings,’ says Eden.

When you find yourself multi-tasking and doing neither job particularly well, for example, it can be far more effective to prioritise one task and complete it, before picking up the other.

‘Take a second to stop when you are feeling rushed. Be aware of your body and thoughts, explains Eden.

‘If you even take one minute to completely let go of what you are doing and focus on your breath, that can be a huge game changer.’

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