The quarantine the world has been witnessing for a while has left us with plenty of free time that, sadly, many use to – procrastinate. The truth is that, if used wisely, the extra leisure time can be used creatively and in a way that will help us improve our lives in the long run.
First of all, if you’re using a daily calendar like many people are, you will soon realize that regular breaks are quite sufficient to cover for all kinds of non-work activities, including daily exercise routines, hobbies, house chores, etc.
How come we don’t have enough time during regular “off” hours?
The answer is quite simple, really. If we deduct the time spent on commuting and getting ready for the job, we are already at least an hour short. But what happens to the remainder? Mostly, people go shopping, eating and drinking after work, plus commuting here and there. All these activities add up to the extra free time we have now.
However, now that we are aware of the actual issue, we can cut on the time-consuming, unnecessary activities to get more free time to spend on things we love and still have more than enough time to dedicate to our businesses. Here are a couple of tips that will help with that.
1. Online Communication Rules Supreme
While many people use the benefits of online communication tools, more still have just discovered their added benefits. If you hadn’t attended an online business meeting before the quarantine began, you just might be learning of its benefits.
On top of business communication, these apps are also great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but we never expected we’ll be hosting birthday celebrations online, did we?
Certainly, human contact cannot be that easily replaced by new technologies, but let’s look at the bright side for a moment. People living elsewhere can easily attend online gatherings, and so can people feeling down or pressed for time.
Online business meetings are, for numerous people, more convenient than traditional ones. One main reason is that it is easier to relax at home and another – that time on commuting can be put to better use.
We’re not saying to replace all events for online gatherings, but those that save time should definitely be considered.
2. Keep to Newly-Established Routines
Remember the schedule from the beginning of the text? It’s time to bring it to the next level. While in the beginning, daily schedules served basically to help you keep track of the daily activities, in the long run, they can help you even further.
First of all, if you hate planning out entire days on end like the writer of these lines does, it should be said here that this is by no means the purpose of a schedule. Keep in mind that a proper schedule includes time slots for all kinds of activities, breaks, and leisure time included.
Perhaps establishing a couple of time slots for leisure activities will help your productivity. In fact, we’re sure of it. Having regular breaks is as important as performing your job duties properly.
3. Sort Tasks by Priority
Aren’t we all constantly overwhelmed? It seems to be the trait of our hectic times when time seems to have stepped up its pace to such a degree that we are often left wondering where the hell all that free time went.
In fact, time is as constant as it has ever been; it’s just that we spend too many pointless hours trying to do more than we are humanly capable of doing. That’s why the schedule comes in handy again.
During the quarantine, we all sorted out our daily tasks. Adopt this practice for life. Every day, go through the tasks and sort them by priority. Allocate a time slot for each, but remember to be realistic. Leave the excess tasks for later. Anything that’s not urgent and cannot fit into your business schedule is best left for the following day rather than split in half.
And if you’re a freelancer or have picked up a side hustle during your time working from home, also keep in mind the time difference for task due dates. If you’re working with companies that are out of the country or even on the opposite coast, then be sure to know when a project is due YOUR time versus THEIR time so that you can properly allocate it into your schedule. Sometimes, it can buy you a few more hours so that you can have time to finish a more pressing task first.
4. Prioritize and Take Your Time to Unwind
A healthy balance of work- and leisure activities is the key to greater productivity. It is equally important to enjoy your leisure time as it is to enjoy your work. Getting overwhelmed and wasting time checking and re-checking incoming email is not the right way to achieve that goal.
When you prioritize and dedicate enough time to each task, you will have greater satisfaction doing your job because you will have put all your efforts into a single task. Multitasking is never a good idea, not even outside work.
A job well done will leave you fulfilled, so when the break comes, you will enjoy it to the fullest because you won’t be stressed out or feel pressed for time.
It would appear that the feeling of lack of time is the main reason why people break. Because they don’t prioritize, their breaks often have to suffer. Never give up your well-deserved breaks. Rather, be realistic in your expectations and plan in accordance with your capabilities. Allocate as much time as you need for each task, even more, if you expect issues along the way. In this way, the breaks won’t have to suffer, and you won’t feel overwhelmed.
However, always remember that fitting a few stretches or quick, 10-minute routines into a break or two is definitely time well-spent! I probably don’t need to remind you of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, or how it can be uncomfortable to sit for hours at a time.
5. Shop Online Whenever Possible
Online shopping is a great way to increase your free time. Many people use their benefits, but more still have just only discovered them due to the quarantine.
Keep shopping online in the future for the items you don’t have to hand-pick yourself. At least groceries and beverages don’t change overnight. A simple calculation will let you know that grocery shopping consumes considerable time. Add commuting to that, and you’ll easily add another time slot for other activities if you switch to online shopping.
Challenging times always teach us valuable lessons. People who regularly lack time to do anything outside the work have gotten a chance to organize their time better. Many people have learned a new skill or two with their newfound spare time. How you will use the time you now have depends on your preferences but whatever you do – don’t waste it. Read a book. Enjoy a TV show you never had enough time for. Host an online party. Try new workout routines. Write something—Cook a delicious treat. There are so many ways to enjoy life and remain productive at work. Find your recipe!
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