With this COVID-19 virus doing it’s thing leaving so many of us around the world holed up in our houses, time is the thing of which we have most. Which is ironic because the one thing I have heard most over the last 19+ years as a professional organizer is that people have no time.
I hear consistently that there is no time to get organized. In fact, many tend to have “no time” to do any of the things needed for overall wellness. There is “no time” to cook healthy meals, meditate, exercise, spend with loved ones.
Now we are almost forced to change all of that which is not a bad thing. It is a great opportunity to use our time wisely, considering we seemingly have more of it, and make the most of it.
That of course, is a bit of an irony as well.
We feel as though we have more time. With this virus and having to be home we aren’t as distracted by all the things that pull us away from center. The things that clutter our minds and skew our perception of time and leave us feeling as though time is fleeting.
So now, we are perhaps feeling differently about how much time we actually have. Now we have all the time we need to get things done – for work, the house, personal growth – because we aren’t physically going anywhere.
Time is on our side.
I see this realization of having time on our side as a nice a nice change of pace from the chaos we usually feel day-to-day. We rush around, clutter our minds with too many tasks or other people’s emergencies and deadlines, and feel overwhelmed. And that overwhelm stresses us and makes us tired and feel unfulfilled. It all falls under the suffocating label of “I am so busy”. And we blame that busyness on having “no time”.
The truth is we have always had time. Pre COVID-19 we had time. And now trying to make due in the face of it, we have time. We have always had the same number of hours in a day to be productive. Perhaps, we just haven’t used the time wisely.
Now is a great opportunity to practice using it effectively!
Now – when we have nothing but time – we can actually use it to our advantage and practice techniques to help us when things go back to “normal”. When we open back up and let in those distractions.
Many are working from home. And that can be stressful on so many levels. Many have children who are also now home – all.day.long. And that can cause overwhelm. We all want to be productive, and to feel that there is something still fulfilling about what we do at home.
Try these tips for managing your time and using it wisely.
1. The Ivy Lee Method.
The adore the Ivy Lee Method (which James Clear writes about brilliantly here). It basically tasks you to think about no-more-than six tasks/projects/things you want to accomplish in the day. You can choose less than six tasks, but no more than six tasks. You number your tasks in order of importance. Once you finish #1, you can move to #2. Whatever you don’t complete gets moved to your task list for the next day. I love it because it keeps in front of you the things you have deemed important, necessary to complete.
I personally rarely choose six tasks. And I assign a time limit to many of my bigger tasks so I am able to make progress on them. For example: “write a blog article” could take me 2 hours. So I create the task as “spend 50 minutes drafting a blog article”. That makes the task feels more appealing, and do-able. And I make much more progress on the writing, and on my entire Ivy Lee list, when I make the tasks more appealing.
2. 5×50 to be holistically productive.
Brendon Burchard is a productivity genius. I have read many of his books and his last book, High Performance Habits, was one of the best books I read in 2018. There are basically five areas Brendon insists his clients must master in order to feel the vibrancy, joy and progress in life they deserve. He divides them up into time frames. Here is a PDF assessment showing you how these time frames work. And here is a video link where explains it in depth. If you are looking to find balance in your life, add in wellness techniques to keep you centered, and to be productive with your [work] tasks, this is a great method to use. I like to mesh his method with the Ivy Lee Method in how I structure my blocks of time to do work, and in how I start my day.
3. Don’t skip getting centered.
One of Brendon Burchard’s time frames is called the Morning Power Block. It is a 50-minute time block geared towards starting your day centered and focused. I aim to use my first 50 minutes of the day to do my Morning Pages for 10, meditate for 20 minutes, stretch 15, and then plan my day (using my Ivy Lee as a guide for work tasks). I find my center instead of jumping into reaction-mode from emails and the needs of others. So many people do the jumping instead of the centering. Regardless of which avenue you choose, know that it sets the tone for your day.
4. Don’t fill the spaces.
Create space. And honor space. Don’t fill your physical space or mental space with too much. When you do, you create a cluttered feeling. That feeling sucks energy from your head and your space. And you start to see time as fleeting. When that happens you will feel as though there is no room to do much of anything. Open space, whether in your head or home, allows you to see time as, well…timeless. You will feel as though your opportunities to create, accomplish, fulfill are possible. Clear space is freeing.
Remember this: You have enough time. All truly is well.
And it is good to remind yourself of that through the day. Louise Hay was a genius with creating affirmations to help people (and herself) keep vibrations through the day positive. One of my favorite affirmations and one that I say all day, every day, is “I have time to do everything I need to do today.”.
I say it because I do have time to what I need to do.
And so do you.