Stress and Solutions Related to Time Pressure in the U.S.
Some prominent causes of present-day time-pressure and the associated stress are multi-tasking, the inability to "switch off", online time-sinks and distractions, and email management. Some solutions are time- and work- management techniques such as the Pomodoro technique and Inbox Zero. Productivity-boosting apps such as Rescue Time, Focus and Freedom help in identifying sources of online distraction and eliminating them.
Causes of time pressure
The average worker spends about 28% of the workweek managing email. People are in the habit of checking their inboxes every few minutes and reading their messages, but not responding or taking immediate action on them. This creates a sense of a growing backlog and causes stress.
2. Online time-sinks:
Online activities like browsing, chatting, social-networking and gaming consume large amounts of time without our realizing it. For example, a study found that tech workers "could only focus for 11 minutes before getting distracted, and once distracted, it took them 25 minutes to regain focus."
Such distractions reduce productivity and the ability to focus on the task at hand, causing stress and time pressure.
The Internet age and the proliferation of devices has brought with it the ability to multi-task and has made work and communication location-independent, but the flip side of this is the inability to "switch off" and the stress and time-pressure caused by needing to pay attention on multiple things at the same time. A study showed that "college students spend a fifth of their time in class being engaged with their devices in tasks not connected to their school work."
TOOLS and Techniques to deal with time pressure
1. Inbox Zero:
This is a technique of email management espoused by Merlin Mann, wherein every time you visit your email inbox, you systematically "process to zero", i.e., take some specific action for every email in the inbox -- reply, forward, add an item on your to-do list, or just file away as appropriate -- leaving the inbox empty, and eliminating the stress of dealing with a cluttered inbox or the sense of a growing pile-up of work.
Boomerang is an app that helps users "clean up their inboxes without losing track of important messages and helps manage messages that can’t be dealt with immediately, but that need attention or a response later."
Francesco Cirillo developed this time-management technique that
"uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks."
FocusBooster is a mobile app that uses this technique to boost productivity and reduce time pressure-induced stress.
3. There are many apps available that help to manage time better and reduce time pressure-induced stress. Apps such as RescueTime help one stay mindful of how they are spending their time by monitoring online habits and identifying sources of distraction. Apps like Focus and Freedom block distracting websites and social media sites at specified time to enhance work time productivity.
While technology seems to be at the root of present-day time-pressure and the stress associated with it, technology also provides several practical tools to deal with time-pressure and to manage time and work more efficiently. In this report, prominent causes of time-pressure and some solutions to overcome them have been presented.