Stress is good for no one. It hurts job performance, disrupts your sleep, and leads to burnout. Yet according to a new LinkedIn survey, nearly half of employees report feeling stressed at work.

When asked what's causing it, 70 percent of people said the same thing: Their work-life balance sucks. This is probably a surprise to no one. Even when we're not physically at work, we feel chained to our overflowing inboxes and endless Slack pings.

Here are a few tips from time management experts to cut down on workplace stress and improve your work-life balance.

Find out where your time is really going.

There are 168 hours in each week. Are you spending all of them well? Part of your work-life balance stress might be coming from wasted time.

Get a notebook. Carry it with you everywhere for a week. Write down every 30-minute increment of time. You might be surprised where your time is going. You might be wasting more of it than you realized.

This tip comes from time management expert Laura Vanderkam. She consults extremely busy executives to help them prioritize their time.

She says the concept of making more time is a myth. "We don't build the lives we want by saving time," Vanderkam has said. "We build the lives we want, and then time saves itself."

Get used to saying no.

If you're a top performer, chances are people have noticed. They want more of your time and your brilliant brain. They ask you to do more and more.

It's flattering to be in demand. But if you said yes to every favor or last-minute request at work, you'd have no time left to focus on what you really need to do.

Remember, every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else.

Rethink how you tackle your to-do list.

We tend to triage our to-do lists based on urgency and priority. Leadership consultant Rory Vaden advises you to do this instead: Focus on the things today that will free up your time tomorrow.

This might mean investing some time in creating a process, training someone on a repetitive task, or setting up an automated system. But once you have invested the time to successfully move that task off your plate, you won't have to keep doing it.

If you can afford it, outsource "life" stuff you hate.

Even if you are ruthless about prioritizing your time at work, that doesn't take away all the time-sucking administrative tasks at home. There are always bathrooms to be cleaned and groceries to be shopped for.

Research on the topic of money and happiness suggests you should pay someone to complete mundane tasks you dislike. People who used money on time-saving services reported greater life satisfaction than those who bought material things.

What's the most despised task on your at-home to-do list? Can you pay someone else to do it? The reward is you get more time to do the stuff you love. You're essentially buying your own time back -- and in turn buying happiness.

Millionaire Barbara Corcoran is a big fan of this strategy. She used to get 800 emails every day. She outsourced the drudgery of checking email to her assistants, and now she only sees the most important or urgent ones. ​

Published on: Apr 30, 2019
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