Chances are, you’ve heard someone say something like “Everybody’s got all of this time at home now…” or maybe you’ve seen social media posts depicting how productive people are right now. If so, you might be feeling some regret if you are not having a similar experience.
But the reality is: yes, we do have more time at home, but do we have more free time? No. This is especially true if you are working from home while also trying to educate your children. There’s not much time to be doing other things.
Organizing your time is about intentions. What is the most important thing for you to get done each day? If you schedule it in, you will feel productive at the end of the day instead of feeling regret for not doing even more.
The benefit of having a more organized, structured day is efficiency. You’ll be less stressed and will be able to spend the day the way you want.
Let’s walk through the EMEND method to tackle organizing time:
Explore: Give Yourself Grace
It’s been a month and a half since we started with this new normal and we don’t know how much longer this is going to continue. But we have to live in the current reality we are faced with — which none of us have ever done — and it is completely new.
Yes, we are at home more, but we have more on our plate than we did before. Now is the time to give yourself some grace. Embrace this new time that we are in without adding a lot of stress and regret.
Merge: What do you Need to get Done and When?
In order to organize your day and your time, you need to know what has to get done. Merge all of your activities – get them together to see everything you need/want to accomplish.
- What assignments do your kids have to complete?
- What tasks did your boss give you that need to get done?
- What meals need to be prepared?
- What family activities would you like to take place?
Laying the tasks out and seeing what that looks like will help you get a concept of how much time it is going to take. You can also start to evaluate when is the best time to work on these tasks.
With stuff, people put things where there is room, not necessarily where it makes sense. If you start shoving things where there is room and not in an intentional space, that becomes clutter. Think about your time in the same way. If you are just doing activities randomly and not on purpose, then you are not being as efficient as you could and essentially are creating a cluttered day.
Getting all of your tasks together will help you see what is the most important.
Edit: What can you Realistically get Done in a Day?
You only need to include the things you can (and should) get done in that day. Get rid of all of the extra tasks that are not necessary for today — maybe you put them off to another day. Think of it in terms of how you donate items. You can get rid of time as well.
- Are there things you can delegate?
- Can you practice saying no to some things?
- What can be put off until another day?
Now is also the time to recognize and ditch the time-stealers, such as social media, TV and Netflix.
Nest: Create an Intentional Schedule
Look at all of the tasks and see how long they take, and which ones are the most important. You should tackle the most important tasks first, instead of those that might be the most interesting. With time, it is important to find where in your day each task belongs. Take the items, figure out how long they are going to take, and consider when the best time of day would be for each one.
Of course, some of the things are set — when you have to meet with your boss or your team at work; when your child has to meet with their teacher. But when it comes to all of the things that are optional (in terms of scheduling), look at your day and figure out when it makes the most sense to work on them.
Some people just make a checklist, while others use apps or a Google calendar. Where you store your task list isn’t as important as the structure of when you’re going to work on things.
Consider posting the schedule for the day. This allows all to know what is expected of them and can also keep you on schedule with your tasks.
Develop: Execute and Follow Your Schedule
Pay attention to when you are most productive and when you like to work more. You might be someone that wants to sleep all day and get up at 2am to work. Embrace the fact that you have this flexible schedule. Of course, not all schools are allowing that, but if your boss or school allows the flexibility, do what is best for you.
A time-management method called the Pomodoro Technique (“pomodoro” is Italian for tomato, and this method honors the tomato-shaped kitchen timers) encourages users to tackle tasks in 20-25-minute chunks with short breaks after completing each chunk.
For some, changing tasks or taking a quick break serves as a motivator. Others would rather see tasks from start to finish. Consider what works best for you when planning your day. At school or at work, there are natural transitions throughout the day, whether it is lunch or moving from class-to-class. At home, there may not be natural break periods.
This is a broad guide on how to organize your time during the shelter-in-place order. If you have specific questions about this, I’d love to address them. Please let me a comment or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.