There are so many self-care guides out there suggesting different ways of efficiently managing your time. But really, there is not one time management design that is appropriate for everyone. This is simply because each of us has different priorities and different characters.
We approach our work differently and we go about our days differently. Once we try to follow someone else’s work methods, instead of being more productive, we could actually get stressed and our output suffers.
What follows is not a strict procedure, but rather, a guide as to how you can create a work method that is appropriate to your inclinations.
Following your work hours
If you don’t have to clock in hours like in a regular office setting, then you’re in luck since you could set your own work time. However, you still have to delineate the time you allocate to do work from your personal time. Otherwise, it will be stressful. You will be thinking about work the entire day even if you are doing a personal chore.
If you don’t want to follow office hours – working for straight eight hours – you can allocate chunks of your day to work or personal activities. For example, you can allocate four hours in the morning for your work. Then you take a break, and afterward, allocate another four hours in the afternoon or towards evening. The time would be to your discretion. What is important is you don’t overlap your tasks. When it is your personal time, don’t think about work.
Setting schedules throughout the day
By this, it means you allot a particular time for a task. If setting schedules work for you, have them. But if it doesn’t, simply set a deadline for yourself. Say, you have to be done with a report by 3 pm so that you will have time to review it before handing it in. At the same time, you want to be able to finish a new budget plan at the end of the day.
If you are the kind of person who can’t concentrate on only one task at a particular time, then don’t force yourself to. As long as you keep working on the two tasks and deliver them on time, there is no need to conform to traditional ways of working. Again, understand what makes you productive.
Finding a good workspace
There are people who need to have a set work area so that they can focus on their work. If you are among these people, then follow what you need. Your brain has been conditioned to concentrate on work once you are in this zone.
However, this doesn’t work for everyone. For those who feel uninspired after a few hours – or even just minutes – of sitting in just one place, move around. If you are assigned to a cubicle or work desk, ask your manager if you could use a vacant meeting room occasionally. If you work from home, transfer from your work desk to your dining room, or even set up a collapsible tent on your backyard so you could work outdoors.
Some people can’t do without distractions. As long as you know how to limit the time you allot for these interruptions, you don’t have to lock up your phone, you don’t have to put on blinders. People have natural attention spans. After this time is exhausted, you might want to take a break and shift your focus for a while to refresh your mind.
In line with the distractions, know how you maintain your energy. Some people could go on working straight in a day without showing any form of tiredness. Unfortunately, they are the images of perfect productivity, the model workers everyone aspires to be. But not everyone has that level of energy. Check yourself and know your limits. Take power naps if you need them – just make sure your company allows it. If they don’t, take your lunchtime somewhere where you can get a short snooze.
Coffee also does not work for everyone. Just because it’s a fad for professionals, you don’t have to force yourself to drink it even when you palpitate afterward or you can’t sleep at night or you just don’t like its taste at all. There are also people who do yoga to invigorate themselves. Some walk around to energize their body and consequently energize their minds. Some get their energy boost from sweets or some food. Again, do what works for you.
We are all wired differently. Sometimes we place too much value on how others in society go about their lives. But we are all structured differently even if we live in the same community. Find your own rhythm in doing things. It will make you more productive while maintaining a healthier mind.