Americans always have been of the mindset that being busy is a good thing. When the pandemic hit, things changed a lot. No longer were people constantly busy. Some people adapted to the slower pace of things, while others wished for things to go back to normal. Whichever camp you have been in, time management may have looked a little difficult for you recently.
So, what are the best practices for managing your time—during a pandemic or not? Entrepreneur.com offers 10 tips for setting up yourself to stay focused and organized.
1. Set goals the right way. This means you should set SMART goals, or goals that are specific, meaningful, achievable, relevant and time-based.
2. Find a good time-management system. Entrepreneur.com suggests using the quadrant time-management system. This system splits your activities into four quadrants based on urgency and importance. “Things are either urgent or important, both or neither. Neither (quadrant 4) are the activities that you want to stay away from, but it’s the not-urgent-but-important quadrant (2) that you want to focus on.”
3. Audit your time for seven days straight. For a week straight, write down how you spent your time in 30-minute or hour blocks. At the end of the week, tally the times to see what you did the most. If you worked hard and didn’t slack off, then keep doing that. If you noticed too much time wasted, then make sure to adjust so that it doesn’t keep happening.
4. Spend your mornings on MITs. MITs are your most important tasks. Getting the hard things done first will give you motivation to fly through the rest of your tasks.
5. Schedule email response times. The ping of a new email can be distracting. Turn off notifications and check emails once per day. Respond to them at that time and forget about them the rest of the day so you can focus on the task at hand.
6. Eliminate bad habits. If you tend to get on your phone too much or binge Netflix, stop yourself and think about what you could get done instead.
7. Take frequent breaks when working. Getting away from the computer screen and work mentality can help your brain relax so you’re more focused when you return. Go grab a coffee or just incorporate short walks into your day.
8. Meditate or exercise every morning. Both give you balance, stamina and mental focus.
9. Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day. Having daily goals is less daunting than large goals, and it helps to have the day planned in advance.
10. Turn off social media app notifications. These can be super distracting, especially when you’re in a flow. Turn them off, and you’ll notice your productivity levels rise.