Having Trouble Organizing Your Schedule?
This year has kept us on our toes. It feels like every few weeks we’ve been forced to pivot and restructure our daily lives- this can be overwhelming and distracting. It has caused tension (both physical and emotional) and left us feeling tired and depleted.
At the risk of being one of those obnoxious, idealistic people, I do want to talk about the good side of this predicament we’ve found ourselves in. We all know that change is hard, but it’s the one thing we can count on in life. Being forced to give up life as we knew it (a couple of times already this year) has actually given us the rare opportunity to change our habits.
As humans, we are creatures of habit who can often allow them to dictate much of who we are, what we do, and what we accomplish- whether they are serving us or not. Having the rug pulled out from under us has allowed us to take a step back, cut out what wasn’t working, or at least what wasn’t necessary and to get a little creative. It’s not often we are made to change our entire routines the way we were earlier this year when we were forced to stay home and adjust to a “new normal”. Now, as we are slowly transitioning into a new normal, we are experiencing this sense of disruption again. This can cause us to lose sleep, be less productive, more impatient, and stressed out.
We’re all in this together, so we wanted to take our passion for organization and workplace optimization and share our best tips for making a routine transition as painless as possible.
1. Optimize Your Work Hours.
Break up your workday into ‘work sprints’ and switch between tasks each time. There are all kinds of different methods that have been proven to work, so choose a time limit that works for you. Here's an article from Medium with some great info about 90 minute sprints. Personally I like to work for 45 minutes and then break for 15 minutes. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure it’s a sustainable amount of time and that you are able to fully commit to it. Make it possible for your working time to be distraction-free. You’ll find you’ll get a surprising amount done in a short amount of time. We often are more motivated and stimulated when we are on a time limit. Challenge yourself, and see how much you can get done in a limited amount of time. If you make work feel like a game the time will go by faster and the next thing you know your tasks will be complete.
When you get your work done promptly you will feel less stressed and free up space in your mind for the things that really matter.
2. Set Up An Attainable Schedule.
In order to minimize time loss on transitions from one activity to another, you should make sure you always know when and for how long you are going to do each task. If you always start doing something at exactly the same time every day it will soon become an ingrained habit, saving you precious minutes otherwise spent on deciding what to do next. Sit down at the beginning of each day and decide what are the highest priority tasks and allot a realistic amount of time to get those things done. Start your day with the more challenging tasks when you have the most brainpower. It’s also really important to give yourself a realistic amount of time to complete these tasks. If you end up taking longer then you gave yourself you may start to feel anxious about completing it quickly and rush through the work.
3. Include Exercise In Your Daily Schedule
Most of us understand that physical exercise is good for us, but the key to really reaping all the benefits of it to make it a daily practice. Making time for exercise each day will not only make you feel better, but also increase your clarity of mind, quality of sleep, and general productivity. Exercise can also play a major role in increasing your confidence. When you move through life feeling confident and proud of yourself, everything feels easier. It’s also a great way to let your mind wander and muster fresh, creative thoughts.
4- Embrace the Unfamiliar.
Researchers suggest that the best way to break from stale routines and seek out new ideas is to literally put yourself in unfamiliar places and situations… so, good for us! We’ve definitely achieved that this year. The reasoning behind this is that novel experiences help unleash your imagination by forcing the mind out of its tendency to rely on categories and take shortcuts.
Now, this is a totally different experience then what we’ve all just been through when the state of the world turned our lives upside down. The point of this exercise to do something unfamiliar but for you to be the one in control. It doesn’t have to be extreme (I think we’ve all had enough extremes to last us a while). If you are still working from home then do something simple like working in a coffee shop or co-working space you’ve never been to before (if where you are is allowing it and you can practice safe social distancing). If you’re back at the office, talk to your boss about taking a few afternoons a week out of the office to work remotely. Anything to switch it up and get your brain firing in new and exciting ways. Even something as small as walking a different route than normal can make a difference in your day.
5- Go With The Flow.
Okay- this is maybe the world’s most annoying piece of advice ever but… it’s actually pretty legit. Every day is super bonkers right now, and we never know what’s going to happen from one week to the next. This means we don’t really have much choice except to roll with it.
This might mean some days are more productive than others, and that each day may work differently than the last, so we need to do our best to stay positive, flexible and be kind to ourselves. The more rigid we are with our routine the less productive we’re going to be. Sometimes you just have to through your hands up and surrender to the fact that you can control how things are going to happen. The only thing you can really control is your mindset.
Times like this will hopefully allow us to lean into our good habits while identifying and eliminating our bad ones. Being forced to change our routine up can be a blessing in disguise. Underneath all of the chaos, confusion and struggle to properly time manage is the opportunity to clean out old habits and develop new ones that will help make us live, work, and be better.
How have you been adjusting to all these changes? Do you have any tricks that have made it easier, or have you hit any major roadblocks? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a line in the comments section below!