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Failing to achieve ambitions is a major contributor to depression. One of the main reasons for this failure is the management of time. Knowing how to manage your time will both help you reach your goals and reduce stress, both of which can quickly lead to depression.

Making time to play

Your workday has stretched way beyond 5 p.m. You're working nights and weekends. But what's stressing you out isn't the amount of time you're working — it's the quality of your work. It's not as good as you think it should be. And you're having trouble sleeping to boot.

More isn't better! All of us have peak productive hours, usually during the day. Work that we do after that tends to be of lesser quality. If you're tired, you're not going to be alert or creative. You need to put a little fun and stimulation into your life.

Don't work after work. Spend time with your family, socialize with friends, read a book, walk a mile or do your yoga stretches. This can help get your creative juices flowing during your productive hours and help you wind down to get a restorative night's sleep. Make it a point to leave work on time at least 3 days a week.

Carve big tasks into small chunks

Do you put off tackling big tasks until you have a big chunk of time? Break them into small increments.

You're feeling defeated because you have big tasks ahead of you — whether work projects, cleaning out your basement or planning the annual dinner for a charitable organization — and you have no big chunks of time in which to do them. The answer: Start small.

If you believe you need a block of time before you can start a big task, you need to adjust your thinking. Every day offers fragments of time — 5 to 30 minutes — that you kill because you think it's not enough time to use productively. There's a lot you can do in even 5 minutes — make a phone call, write a few paragraphs, clean off one shelf, meditate. Next time you find yourself waiting for a meeting to start or a phone call to be returned, do a piece of something else. Before you know it, you'll have that big job completed.

Try delegating

You have too much to do, but you can't delegate. You finally got your partner to help around the house, but you trail behind him, rearranging the books he straightened and reshelving the dishes he put away. At work, you can't help tinkering with the projects you hand over to coworkers. You're stressed and so is everyone around you.

Let go. Remind yourself that nothing will ever be perfect, and no one will do things exactly the way you do them. But the world will not come to an end because you let other people do things their way sometimes. When you hand over a task, really let it go. Try to appreciate the effort others make. Remind yourself that although you're trying to be helpful, the people around you consider your "helpfulness" as criticism. You may not like the way your partner stacks dishes or how your assistant files purchase orders, but aren't you glad they're doing the job?

Try a day of rest

Does your life feel off-kilter because you're always rushing, doing, accomplishing? Try a day of rest.

You're so busy, trying to pack every moment with activity so you can advance your career, keep fit and tend to all the other responsibilities in your life. You never have time to appreciate what you have or to think about where you're going. What can you do?

The hectic pace of most women's lives leaves little time to enjoy what they're so busy working for. In her new book, To Begin Again: The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength and Faith in Difficult Times , Naomi Levy proposes a solution: a day of rest. Set aside one day a week to stop working, running errands, cleaning house and answering the phone. Instead, reflect, rejoice, be grateful and rest. Try it for one week, and see whether a day of rest doesn't make the workweek more tolerable and rejuvenate your flagging spirit.

Spend some time alone

Your day at work is filled with interruptions from people who need your help. When you get home, your husband wants to talk, the kids vie for your attention and the dog needs to be walked. You have so many demands pulling at you, you can't breathe.

Give yourself the gift of solitude. You think you don't have the time, but if you spend just 15 minutes a day alone, you might find yourself refreshed enough to handle everything you do now — maybe even more.

Find a quiet place, even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom with earplugs. Then just sit and focus on your breathing. Or take a walk in the woods. Sit on the porch at night and star gaze. Lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling. Read a poem. Write a poem. Listen to a symphony. It'll clear your mind, slow your breathing and restore your calm.

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