ABOUT THE AUTHORS | Cristina Villalón is the Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. Monique Lugo-López is the President and Chief Operating Officer at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón.
Managing our time can be a tricky thing.
With so many distractions, it’s become increasingly difficult to juggle everything on our plate right now: family, virtual learning, homeschooling, work, connecting with friends, for some, economic survival or complete reinvention, and don’t forget time for ourselves to stay sane!
This constant struggle and juggling act steals our energy, hinders our motivation and prevents us from managing our time effectively. Mastering time management will lead to efficiencies and peace of mind that will allow us to keep going.
THE FOLLOWING TIPS WILL HELP YOU KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE DURING THIS CRAZY TIME:
1. PRIORITIZE YOURSELF
First things first, you need to make time for yourself. Self-care is not selfish. It’s giving the world what is best of you instead of what’s left of you. You can’t tackle everything on your plate before first filling up your tank. Start each morning by feeding your mind, body and soul. Practice a POWER HOUR.
Wake up an hour earlier and schedule 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of meditation and 20 minutes of reading or listening to something uplifting. This hour you invest in yourself, will pay dividends throughout the day. You’ll have more energy and feel more in control to handle whatever comes your way.
2. PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID URGENCY
We tend to spend most of our time working on tasks that are urgent. However, this constant “firefighting mode” leaves us feeling stressed out and drained. To avoid this, we need to focus on tasks that are important. Before going to sleep, figure out what your important tasks are for the next day. Write down your 3 most important tasks, that if you get to nothing else, you will still feel accomplished.
Set yourself up for success by tackling your most important or difficult task first. At the end of an unpredictable day full of interruptions and “fires”, you will have accomplished at least one important thing. And if you plan it right, it will be the one thing that makes a big difference.
3. PREPARE FOR INTERRUPTIONS
Interruptions are unavoidable and unpredictable, especially now. Expect them and learn to work around them. Try to structure your days as much as possible. Wake up early, plan ahead and block out time for the things you need to get done. If you have kids, put aside some time in the morning, to make sure they are “set” up for their school day. Block out your lunch hour and five-minute breaks in between meetings. When internet issues unavoidably arise, or your kids need you for whatever reason, you’ll be able to tell them when your next break is. Organization is key. Set up clear rules and boundaries so that everyone in the house knows what to expect.
If your kids are under the age of 7, just accept the fact that you are not in control of your day. Try to wake up early and do a power hour. You need it more than anybody. Try to get your kids on a strict routine and have them in bed early. Kids thrive on routine. Everything else will go smoother once you have them on one.
Just breathe and try to get through it. Pay attention to the magical moments amid all the madness. Have some compassion with yourself. This too shall pass.
4. GET ORGANIZED
Organization is more important now than ever! Use a calendar to schedule and block out time for everything in your life. Block out your personal time, breaks, focus time, and meetings. When you look at your calendar in 30 min and 1-hour intervals, you’ll find there are a lot of blocks to fill. Plan out your days and stick to the plan. Doing so, will keep you productive, on task and feeling energized.
Structure and routine are your best friends. Find your rhythm. Try to stay on task. Not doing so, will have your days bleeding into one another and feeling blurry. Try to organize everything that is important in your life. Personal time, family time, nourishment, rest, work.
While you are it, organize your spaces too! Been meaning to declutter your house for years? Now is your chance! Find a place for everything. Designate where you want each thing in your home to live. Knowing what you have and where to find it will save you precious time and frustration. You’ll also feel pretty good about yourself for doing so.
5. DELEGATE LIKE A PRO
Delegation is an art and a skill that is hard to master. If you are a business owner, you should be delegating anything that you don’t LOVE to do, is your strength, or you can pay somebody else less than you charge by the hour to do it. That is not a cost. It’s an investment. If you are an employee, try to think like an owner. What is the best use of your time? What are your strengths? Where do you add value? Anything that someone else can do better and faster, should be delegated to them. If you show your boss that you understand this, I bet they’ll thank you for it.
Delegate tasks effectively. You are 100% responsible and 100% response able for your tasks. In order to figure out when to delegate ask yourself these three questions:
• Is this task necessary?
• Could somebody else accomplish this task better and faster?
• Is this the best use of my time?
If the conclusion to all three questions is not to delegate, then ask yourself, “How could I accomplish this task if I had half of the time to get it done?”
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us collectively the opportunity to pause, slow down, reset and really think about our lives and how we spend our time. Time is our most valuable resource. There are 168 hours in a week, 1440 minutes in a day. Each one of those minutes is a gift. How we use those gifts matters. Let’s make it count!