Stress. Time. Those two go so well together…but not always for the good. I am among one of the millions of people in this world that lets stress take over their life. Fortunately, after taking the “Stress and it’s Management” class here at ACU, I’m beginning to see the bigger picture and how to deal with stress.
Stress usually finds me when I pile a multitude of things on top of each other. I tend to think I can accomplish many events, schoolwork and extracurricular activities in one 24 hr period. Well, turns out I can’t. I should know this by now because I’ve tried day after day, year after year, and I always end up with the same results: overwhelmed and mentally/physically fatigued.
Whether or not people like it, or no matter how hard they try to avoid it, stress never escapes us. This fact hit me on Monday, when I learned that I am not the only one who struggles with stress. One of my friends, one of those girls who you know has it all together, had not slept in over 24 hrs. Let me repeat that . . . 24 HOURS! That lack of sleep is not healthy at all. I know some people can run on very little sleep (definitely NOT me) but studies show people need at least 8 hours of sleep a night, especially during their teen years and early 20s.
I learned about jumbled priorities in my “Stress and it’s Management” class. If people stop long enough to think about it, our dilemma goes deeper than a shortage of time; it’s basically a problem of priorities. Hard work doesn’t hurt us because we all know how to go full speed for long hours, and how to be involved in an important task. We actually thrive on the sense of achievement and joy when a certain assignment is finally accomplished.
It is not hard work, but doubt and misgiving that produces anxiety as we review our days ahead and become oppressed by the pile of unfinished tasks. I mean, let’s face it, I know I complain about needing more hours in a day, but deep down I know that sooner or later I will have just piled more tasks into that longer day. Taking on other people’s demands and falling to my own inner compulsions often drives me to frustration. I know I am failing to accomplish what is really important to me.
According to best-selling author, Stephen Covey, people are made up of four quadrants:
Quadrant I is made up of the urgent and important things in our life. For example, being on time or making a deadline for work would fall under this category.
Quadrant II is made up of the non-urgent but important tasks, such as spending time with our family or working out. This quadrant is made up of the most important things in our life.
Quadrant III is the urgent but not important category. An example of this category would be completing extra credit for a class.
Quadrant IV is the not urgent and not important tasks, such as playing video games and watching tv.
Unfortunately, even though Quad II should be the most important in our lives, because it does not have a deadline, this category falls to the end resulting in the loss of very dear relationships. Also, some people put Quad IV first, which only wastes away their life.
I definitely get caught up putting Quad I before Quad II. I feel like there are so many tasks to get done for school that I place a ton of pressure on myself to finish those tasks before the day is up. I miss out on college life: spending time with friends, actually learning about my major, going to social club events, and taking time out of my busy day to call my parents and tell them I love them.
When I say, “I don’t have time for this project,” I really mean, “I don’t consider it as important as something else I want or need to do.” I need to decide what things are most important to me.
Lately, I’ve been using a box chart to write down the most important things to me, urgent or not, and then filling in the other boxes with less important stuff. This idea has helped me see how much time in the day I have for everything and that I can make sure I allot enough time to the right things.
-Jobs (getting stuff done)
-Budgeting Your Money
-Peer Groups/Peer Pressure
-Starting a Career Path
I hope all of this helped you take a step back, breathe in, and RELAX! I know I am FINALLY starting too!