Time management: A topic that is discussed by many, understood by some, but practiced by only a few. The recent pandemic of COVID 19 has freed up some time on our calendars by allowing us to ‘work from home’ and restricting us from travelling abroad or even locally, but at the same time it has also resulted in a drop in human productivity. However, with a little planning and discipline one cannot only manage to complete tasks but also ensure efficiency and productivity. Here are a few time management tips from our desk to yours.
Time and COVID-19
Before we get to the actual tips, let’s review how COVID has affected our lives in terms of time management. Initially, when the lockdowns started, there was hardly any professional who didn’t feel relaxed and elated by the news of offices and workspaces being shut down. Everyone enjoyed time at home with friends and family UNTIL the ‘work from home’ bombs were dropped.
Soon the lines between academic activities, work hours and family time began to get blurry. Suddenly multi-tasking was no longer a choice but a way of life. Feeding your kids while attending a conference call with the team or attending an online class while vacuuming the lounge and worrying about the pot roast in the oven are stories of every household now. With the ever-fluctuating trends of COVID 19 cases around the globe will life ever get back to ‘normal’ or do we have to accept the current state of things as the new normal? If so, how can employees, students and other professionals manage the limited hours of their day to achieve their targets, both personal and professional?
Time Management Tips to Boost Individual Efficiency
1. Set Time Limits and Time Auditing
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of productivity. The first thing to do is to stop putting things on hold. One major reason why companies flourish is because of their strict decorum and accountability. Create a to-do list of all tasks that need to be performed and then set deadlines for each task at hand. Once a task is met, track your progress by auditing your time (ie. how long did each task take, were you able to complete the task within the self-imposed deadline?). This will help you to base your time tables and deadlines on practicality rather than guesswork.
2. Prioritize Tasks
Prioritizing your to-do list is another important tool for time management. For starters, try making a 2×2 table and categorize all tasks under an urgent or important heading. With the ones that are urgent and important being given priority (e.g. sending the minutes of an important meeting to your boss, preparing a meal before your child throws a tantrum or attending your online class) followed by those that are not so urgent but important nonetheless like paying your bills or your child’s tuition fee, preparing for an upcoming exam or checking up on a child/loved one.
3. Target to Be Early
Being on time is good but being early is better. Target yourself to not wait for the 11th hour to complete a task. Set timetables and priorities in such a way that each task is completed before the actual deadline.
4. SMART Goals & Exercise
Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound) goals must be an absolute priority. Getting carried away or being over ambitious while setting deadlines or goals will do nobody any good. Neither would extended work hours prove beneficial. Emphasize on task completion but prioritize personal health too. Take small breaks between work, incorporate yoga and exercise into your daily routine (it’ll freshen you up and help you concentrate on things that matter) and maybe even slip away for a nap while your partner handles the kids.
5. Seek Help from Technology – Apps, Calendars etc.
Nowadays, technology provides a solution to almost everything. Hence the list of time management tips cannot be completed without a mention of them. You can increase your efficiency by creating proper timetables using apps (such as Clockify or Microsoft 365) that not just track your progress but also send out reminders and alarms if deadlines are missed or tasks are left unfinished. You can use online calendars and block dates or times that you are unavailable on. For daily chores, you can set reminders so that you don’t miss out on an antibiotic dose while you are busy in the kitchen or your child’s homework while you are preoccupied with work or an important meeting because your kid is throwing a tantrum.
6. Find Inspiration & Positivity
Our final and most important time management tip is to find inspiration and positivity in the bleak and uncertain times like the current ones. Every time you feel like cursing your luck due to workload, divert your mind to all those people who lost their job due to the pandemic–be thankful that you still have a job. Every time you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work being assigned to you by your teachers in class – be thankful that at least you are privileged enough to afford and continue your education. Be thankful with what you have and life will surely present you with more. Lets Stick together with our loved ones and make most of the time we have.