Oh, 2020. You were already shaping up to be a contentious and difficult year, and then you had to throw a global pandemic at us.
Today is not a normal day in America. Tomorrow won’t be a normal day in America either, and with so much uncertainty around this pandemic, it’s impossible to say exactly when things will start to feel like normal again.
But work doesn’t wait for normalcy, so I know many of you are trying to achieve a new kind of work/life blend. Parents are juggling working remotely with caring for their bored, quarantined kids. They are developing a new appreciation for school teachers, as they find themselves developing homeschooling schedules and keeping distracted kids on task and also noticing that they actually can’t work and teach at the same time. I know that most of us are struggling with some anxiety and fear – for ourselves, for our communities and for our loved ones who are especially vulnerable right now.
Through it all, are you trying to answer emails, consult with clients, write proposals, strategize for the future and just generally continue to keep work moving? Now, perhaps more than ever, your approach to time management will play a major role in determining how effectively you keep working. In stressful and unpredictable times, good time management can provide much-needed relief and comfort. There are so many things you can’t control at all right now. One thing that you can still control is how you allocate your time and where you put your focus.
Time Management Strategies to Think About
We’re all leaning on coping strategies right now. If you’re letting your kids sleep until 9 or have started stress-eating ice cream for dinner, you know what I mean. But when it comes to staying on top of your business, ice cream won’t help. Proactive and productive strategies are what will help you combat feelings of overwhelm.
- Be open to discarding old routines. The daily schedule that worked for you in February might not work for you this April, especially if you’re at home with kids who need supervising 24/7. For now, it might make sense to break your work day into a few distinct chunks of time, or for you to be at your desk during unusual hours. Instead of trying to hold onto what you’re used to, embrace the opportunity to create routines that will really serve you right now.
- Make a new priority list. I always coach my clients on identifying their peak priorities, which helps them get really clear about what to do next – and what not to do at all. Some of your priorities may have to be moved to a back burner for the immediate future, and that’s okay.
- Build in daily connections with others. Even if you have a partner and/or children at home, these family interactions can’t take the place of all the personal connections you’re used to experiencing. Feeling a sense of community can be a powerful mood booster and motivator. In addition to all the calls and video conferences you’re doing for work, could you schedule a daily 15-minute period for FaceTiming or writing letters to old friends? Don’t let these connections fall off your calendar because you’re too busy. Building in time for the people and things that you love is a not only a critical part of good time management it is a critical stress management strategy as well.
- Ask for help. We’re going to get through this period by relying on and helping each other. Asking others for help doesn’t come naturally to all of us, especially entrepreneurs and business owners who are used to getting it all done themselves. If that sounds like you, this could be a prime opportunity to work on asking for help when you need it.
- Practice the Pause! Click the link to read more about this effective tool.
Especially now, we need to be able to get to what really matters.
And we need to do it right away. There is a way to see exactly what that is and how to do it. (I shared more about this in my recent webinar, 3 Keys to Getting Started on the Important Things – click here to access the recording.) We need to get clear on what we want to focus on over the next few weeks and what we want to say we accomplished at the end of this time. Whether it’s “flattening the curve,” keeping your business running while your kids are home or using some reclaimed commute time for a new project, we all need the same set of tools for a collective “restart” of our daily and weekly lives.
And with that restart comes opportunity. What is the opportunity you want to take advantage of today? This month?
Keep in mind that I’m one of those people you can turn to for help right now. If you know what you to want to get done but aren’t sure how to do it, get in-depth instruction from me during my upcoming Jump Start Your Productivity LIVE Virtual workshop. It’s a program that’s entirely web-based, so you can participate from anywhere. The workshop starts on April 15th, but you have to sign up by April 8th to save $1000. Click here to learn more and to register.
Wishing you peace, productivity, clean hands and good health,