At the moment, you find yourself in a situation where you have more time on your hands than normal. This can give the impression that you have all the time in the world to complete everything, even simple tasks. But this is not always the case. Using tools from the Bloom workshop on juggling time, we bust some of the myths and provide some tips on how best to utilise your time during quarantine.
The more ‘free time’ we have, the harder it can be to find a balance between productivity, leisure time and rest. How do you choose what to prioritise when the days are rolling into one? Other times everything seems to come at once and there’s a sense that life is going so fast it’s hard to keep track of everything and distinguish what to keep and what to let go.
The ‘just work hard’ myth
There’s one rule we must all follow to be successful: work hard. Right? Think again. Yes, focused work is important but if we prioritise it with a single mind above all else, we may find we either lose motivation or run out of steam. Whether you’re really snowed under or feel as if you have all the time in the world, it’s important to question what motivates you and brings joy, as well as what helps you reach your goals.
I have too much ‘spare time’
Sometimes the world forces us to stop – a global pandemic, school or college holidays, a seasonal jobs ends, a quieter time in the academic calendar. During these times we may be expecting to easily pick up all the tasks that we’ve been putting off and to feel more accomplished than usual.
This situation often knocks out our routine and with it our ability to be productive. We may be used to being told what to do when and now we have more choice about that. How do we find our way past the funk?
Remember the basics:
- Maintain good physical health: food, water, exercise, sleep
- Ask for help from teachers, adult carers and friends
Try something new:
- Set yourself one or two outcome-based goals – e.g. “I want to learn to cook” or “I want to feel excited about my future” and then identify small actions that will help you reach those outcomes for example help make dinner on Monday nights or speak to three different people about how they chose their career path.
- Note down three things you’ve been pleased with at the end of each day.
- What have you been grateful for today? A sibling, a videocall with a friend?
- Instead of scrolling mindlessly, focus on one post at a time, what have you enjoyed about what you have read or seen?
I’m overwhelmed with ‘not enough’ time
Too much revision, a school show to rehearse for, a sports game to practice for, a part-time job to show up for – a perfect storm of activity may leave you feeling invigorated one minute and utterly exhausted the next. There may also be other things on your mind – an argument with a good friend, some negative comments on a social media post or a stressful situation at home.
Remember the basics:
- Reduce diversions: gaming, social media, YouTube spirals
- Avoid multi-tasking as it’s an in-efficient use of time
- Try something new
Take time to plan and priorities. Use questions like:
- Is this important right now?
- Why is it worth doing this?
- How and when will I take the first steps?
- When will I complete the task?
Here are some tools to help find a balance: Urgent/Important Index
This is a matrix that people use to help them juggle the demands on their time and energy. Place your tasks in the quadrant (Q) as they fit into each category. For example, things you must do by the end of the day would go in Q1. ‘Research for your holiday’ might fit into Q2. This index can help you when you have a long to-do list and you are unsure where to start. Once you’ve put it into this index, you start with Q1, then Q2 and so on. Add your current to-do tasks into the index. Once your matrix is complete, spend time doing Q1 tasks, plan when to do Q3 tasks and ignore Q4.
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