Can Time Management Improve Your Mental Health? Thumbnail

When your time is being managed well at work and home, there’s time for what needs to get done and time for rest which will promote a general sense of wellbeing.

Effective time management is an essential skill that can significantly impact an individual's overall well-being. When time is managed well at work and home, there's time for what needs to be done and time for rest, which promotes a general sense of well-being. On the other hand, poor time management can lead to increased stress and anxiety, which can negatively affect mental health.

Understanding how mental health and time management are interconnected, we can develop effective time management strategies to help ourselves become more productive, reduce stress, and promote mental wellness.

How Time Management and Mental Health are Related

Time management and mental health are closely intertwined, as poor time management can often lead to increased stress and anxiety, which in turn can negatively impact mental health. Effective time management, on the other hand, can lead to improved productivity, reduced stress, and an overall sense of well-being.

Individuals who struggle with time management often experience feelings of overwhelm, lack of control, and guilt, which can lead to further mental health challenges. However, by developing healthy time management strategies, individuals can learn to manage their time more effectively, reduce stress, and improve their overall mental health.

Depression and Anxiety

Time management can be particularly difficult for people who battle depression, generalized anxiety, or anxiety disorders. Finding the desire to finish chores can be challenging for those with depressive disorders, which can result in procrastination and feelings of shame and worthlessness. Individuals who struggle with anxiety may experience excessive worry and hesitancy, making it challenging to manage time and adhere to deadlines.

This can lead to a cycle of stress and negative self-talk, further exacerbating the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Therefore, it's important for individuals with anxiety and depressive disorders to seek psychological services and learn effective time management strategies. This can include breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps, setting realistic goals, and prioritizing self-care to better manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Grief and Trauma

Grief and trauma, whether due to a single event or sustained exposure, can significantly impact an individual's ability to manage their time effectively. In particular, conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to significant brain changes that affect cognitive function. For example, those who suffer from PTSD can experience hypervigilance, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts due to the brain's overactive fear response.

This may affect cognitive function, making concentrating, planning, and completing tasks difficult. Additionally, post-traumatic stress disorder can alter the areas of the brain in charge of memory, emotion control, and decision-making, which may make time management issues even more difficult.

Therefore, it's crucial for people going through bereavement or trauma to receive online trauma therapy and acquire coping mechanisms like mindfulness and cognitive restructuring to control their symptoms. With online trauma therapy, individuals can enhance their time management skills and lessen the negative effects of trauma on their general quality of life.

Stress and Burnout

Stress and burnout are additional factors that can significantly impact an individual's ability to manage their time effectively. Experiencing chronic stress can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, making it difficult to focus on tasks and manage time effectively. Burnout, a type of job-related stress, can result in feelings of cynicism, detachment, and reduced productivity, further exacerbating time management challenges.

Over time, chronic stress and burnout can lead to a decreased ability to prioritize and manage time, increasing the likelihood of missed deadlines and decreased job performance. As a result, individuals must practice self-care, including stress management techniques such as exercise, relaxation, and time management strategies. By proactively managing stress and seeking online mental health services when feeling overwhelmed, individuals can improve their time management skills and overall well-being.

Managing Your Time Can Help your Mental Health

Effective time management can make a significant difference in promoting a general sense of well-being, both at work and at home. By managing your time and task load efficiently, you can ensure enough time for both work and rest. This can help prevent high-stress levels and burnout, which are common issues that can arise when time is not managed properly.

At Work:

No matter what industry you work in (e.g., mental/behavioral health, healthcare, business, finance, tech, etc.), having a job where your role includes meeting and interacting with clients on a frequent basis means it's even more important to manage your time effectively. This can help ensure that you are able to meet the needs of your clients while also managing your own workload and reducing stress levels.

Being able to work effectively and efficiently can make all the difference in how you work and how you feel about your work, particularly when it comes to client-facing roles. It can help you feel more confident in your abilities and build stronger relationships with your clients, leading to increased job satisfaction and better outcomes for those you serve.

Below are a few ways to get you thinking about your current work patterns, preferences, and strategies so you can improve your efficiency, ultimately reduce work-related stress, and help you enjoy your job more.

To start, it's important to assess not only your work patterns and preferences but also the needs and preferences of your clients. This can include considering their schedules, communication styles, and any specific requirements they may have. By taking a client-centered approach to time management, you can ensure that you are providing the best possible service while also managing your own workload effectively.

Next, begin assessing your current time management pattern by tracking how you spend your time during your work day. Assess what is and what is not working for you. A few questions you can ask yourself to assess your patterns may include:

  • What are my work preferences?
  • When do I have the most energy?
  • When do I have the most focus for task A and when do I have the most focus for task B?

After you reflect and answer these questions, you can decide whether or not any action-oriented steps need to be taken to maximize your time and energy. One of the biggest ways to maximize your time and stay on top of your workload is to avoid procrastination.

Putting off work tasks until later just ends up taking up more of your time and mental energy. It can also increase your stress levels. Check in with yourself and allow yourself short mental breaks during your work day, and at the very least, take your lunch.

At Home:

Managing responsibilities at home can be challenging, especially if you have a long list of tasks to accomplish. Depending on your living situation, there may be numerous household chores, cooking, lawn care, taking care of kids or pets, paying bills, and getting groceries, all of which require proper time management. However, effective time management can help you take control of your home life, increasing productivity and reducing stress levels.

While it may seem overwhelming, it's important to know how to manage your time so that you can get things done efficiently while still having time for rest, self-care, and some fun. Prioritizing tasks, creating a routine, and avoiding procrastination can all help improve time management skills. It can also be helpful to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones to make them less daunting. Some ways to manage your time can include:

  • Planning ahead by preparing for the day the night before.
  • Doing the most important tasks of the day in the mornings.
  • Use a to-do list and write down the most important tasks that need to get done that day and do them when you're most productive. You'll know when you're most productive by determining when you feel the most energetic and motivated.
  • Leave some time between tasks and take breaks, so you don't get overwhelmed. By doing this, you'll complete things on time or sooner than expected.
  • Focus on one task at a time instead of multitasking.
  • Delegate tasks at home to your partner, roommate, older child, etc. Ask for help when you need it. Your productivity doesn't define your worth.
  • Schedule time for rest and fun. Rest and fun are just as productive as work and household duties, and both are great for your mental health.

Online Mental Health Services

In addition to managing your time and workload to improve your mental health, seeking psychological services help can also be beneficial. CHE Behavioral Health Services offers mental health services online to individuals struggling with mental health concerns, providing a safe and confidential space to address issues such as stress, depression, anxiety disorders, grief, and more. With a network of over 900 physicians, we provide convenient, evidence-based mental health services online to help improve your mental health and overall well-being.

For more information about mental illness and behavioral health services offered by CHE, please call 888-515-3834. We are ready to talk and ready to listen.

Makenzie Pacubas, MSW, LCSW (they/she)

CHE Quality Assurance Associate

Makenzie is a clinical social worker who has worked in the mental health field for over a decade and now works in clinical quality assurance with CHE Behavioral Health Services. Makenzie lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her partner, Justin, and their three pets. Makenzie likes art, singing, exercising, reading, getting outdoors, and trying new restaurants.