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It’s Not Too Late to Take Back Your Time

When we started working from home, many of us were excited by the prospect of having more time on our hands. We thought we would win back all that time spent commuting to the office. Now we all know that isn’t exactly how it turned out. Thanks to the 24/7 virtual life, we find ourselves consumed with meeting after meeting, call after call, request after request. We are at the mercy of multiple screens, and the lines between work and life have become so blurred, that many of us find that our time is even more constricted than before.


It’s more important now than ever to set boundaries in order to take back your time! We’re sharing some of our best tips to get you on the right track:


  1. Learn to say “no”

 Saying “no” to requests that don’t align with your priorities is essential to winning back your time. Sadly, this one isn’t as easy as it sounds. Lots of people are afraid to say no to projects, tasks, or requests for fear of being disliked, not being a “team player,” or letting others down. When you take on every request, you end up with a million tasks to complete before your day is halfway done. Saying yes to everything makes it difficult to actually accomplish your personal and professional priorities. You can begin to overcome your fear of saying no by zooming out – ask yourself if this will matter in ten days, ten weeks, ten months, or ten years. That will help put tasks into perspective and help you take some things off of your plate.


  1. Pay attention to your time confetti 

With so many distractions surrounding us, it can be easy to lose time to unproductive tendencies – whether that’s checking text messages, scrolling through social media, or reading a breaking news alert. In order to increase awareness of fragmented time, try to keep track of your time confetti. You can estimate how long each distracted activity takes you (ex. 30 seconds to read three text messages) and then see how many minutes you lose in an hour to these activities.


  1. Tap into your energy peak energy

You can maximize your productivity by identifying when you experience your peak energy and adjusting your workday around it. To determine your peak time of day, you can either do some self-reflection to pinpoint when you feel the most and least energized, or you can fill out our peak energy assessment. Once you’ve identified your peak energy, leverage the times when you have the most energy by completing tasks that require the most brainpower!


  1. Make use of the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. This concept can help you be more productive by prioritizing your tasks. If you make a to-do list, you can likely identify 20% of tasks that are most important. Spending your time and effort on those will lend you to achieving great results.


  1. Pick and stick

Take a few minutes at the end of every day to reflect on what you accomplished and then prioritize what you need to accomplish the next day. Pick three to five priorities, write them down in order of their importance. Be realistic about the time it will take to complete each task. Then stick to it! A priority list is only as effective as our ability (and willingness) to follow it.


  1. Create a fake commute

As much as most us hated the hassle of commuting—the time we spent going to and from the office served as an important dividing line between work and home. Researchers say that creating a “fake commute” can help provide an important psychological separator between our work and home lives.  Try to create little rituals that mark the beginning and end of your day—these could be small things like a quick walk around the block, a trip to the coffee shop, or 15 minutes with the newspaper. Do what you can to create a transitional buffer.


  1. Take care of yourself and your health

You can’t pour from an empty cup. To show up at your best and maximize your limited time, you need to attend to your own physical, emotional, and psychological needs. This may mean getting eight hours of sleep a night, going outside for fresh air for 30 minutes a day, or making sure you eat three meals a day and take a lunch break. Make time to do whatever makes you feel refreshed and energized!


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to taking control of your time, but these strategies can provide a good jumping-off point. We wish you luck in your quest to make the most of your waking hours!

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