5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better

If the days and hours during the COVID-19 pandemic seem to blend into one another, you are not alone. As lines blur between office, home, and recreation spaces, managing time (or lack thereof) is one of the most challenging aspects for everyone everywhere.

Time management can be difficult on regular days. Working remotely – with its endless new variables to negotiate – makes it that much tougher to accomplish. Here are our top five tips for time management to improve productivity while working from home.

1. Assess Your To-Do List 

Working from home is liberating in several ways. It also means being accountable for your work since nobody is around to ensure you get things done. Start your workday by evaluating what needs to get done. Make detailed checklists of tasks that need completing. Use a digital tool or calendar to set up reminders for daily, repeatable tasks. It helps to free up valuable brain space, allowing you to prioritize urgent tasks that require your attention and energy. Check these activities off your list first, and then move on to other, unimportant tasks.

For most people, early mornings are calmer and quieter times in the day. It is the ideal time to plan and assess how much you can realistically get done. Inculcating a work or personal routine first thing boosts energy and productivity for the day ahead.

2. Create a Schedule

Once you have the checklist figured, create a schedule for your day or week. Identify what tasks you would like to do at certain hours and block your schedule accordingly. Creating time blocks in a day keeps you focused as you efficiently move from one task to the next. Mix it up so you can factor in work, family, and personal time (including meals) into your schedule. A schedule need not be rigid but helps in setting business hours that work for you and your family.

3. Limit Distractions

Distractions are a reality of working from home. If you struggle with productivity while at home, identify and eliminate potential sources of distraction. Switching off social media notifications, Netflix, or message notifications on your phone is one of the most effective ways to enhance productivity.

4. Seek Support & Delegate

To avoid stress and burnout, avoid taking on more tasks than you are capable of completing. Most of us may hesitate to say ‘no’ due to the fear of being labeled incompetent or a shirker. However, seeking support is an integral part of time management.

Delegation, when done effectively, is a win-win for everyone. If you are a manager, learn how to delegate work to your team members based on their skills and interests. Delegating frees up your time while making your team feel involved and valued. Seek support from your team when things get overwhelming, and work together to meet goals.

5. Stress Management

Attempting to juggle work and home responsibilities can take a toll on anyone. When there are too few hours in a day for everything you need to do, staying self-motivated and focused can seem impossible.

Try and schedule short and fun activities in your day to avoid boredom or burnout. Take regular breaks for 10 to 15 minutes or schedule time for a nap, if needed. Take walks, listen to music or exercise. Switch off from work and spend time with loved ones or call up a friend.

Time management is a huge challenge when working at home,  but it does not have to be. While these five tips will provide a blueprint to manage your time, the key is to adapt them in a manner that works best for you.