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How to Optimize Your Time for An Ongoing Pandemic

Well, it’s official, Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, and as we adjust to things opening up, while still being wary of a second wave looming, let’s take this time to focus on some positives we can draw from this pandemic.

According to world-renowned advertising and public relations pioneer, Martin Sorrell, “COVID-19 is the burning platform for digital acceleration. It’s going to happen faster and better and cheaper than you’ve ever seen before”. With this digital acceleration, adaptation is key, specifically in terms of time management.

The word pandemic may seem frightening, but what comes with it, if you are fortunate enough to be able to stay home, in health and relative comfort, is an opportunity to reset your way of life. So, as this “semi stay-at-home” status progresses what will you do with that time? And as states begin to open, returning to normal isn’t a current reality, where are you going to go? Most places and people are in wait and see mode. So don’t perceive this “stay at home” situation as a punishment, but rather as the moment to get on with your “Post-Pandemic To-Do List” and start filling out that list!

How much extra time do you have?

When looking at your daily schedule, you may be thinking, “yes I’m home but so is my whole family, and I still need to work”. Yes, that is true for so many of us at this time.

But what about that time you used to spend commuting? The time used to get ready for your day and everyone else’s? That averages out to at least two extra hours a day. That’s an extra ten hours each workweek! What can you do with ten extra hours?

Build habits to optimize your time

What have you always wanted to do? Start a business? Begin a fitness program? Get that vegetable garden planted?

Now is a better time than any to focus on the things you have been pushing to the back burner. Optimizing this sudden windfall of spare time is very important.

Here are some basic proven steps to be as effective as you can with your time:

1. Make a to do list. 

Write out everything that comes to mind that you have ever wanted to do, but pushed off.

2. Prioritize that list. 

Put your items in priority based on wants, finances, weather, or any other variable that may affect you completing them.

3. Pick one and get started. 

Take the item you want to check off first and get started. Purchase any items you may need, perform any research you need to, and just get started.

4. Break a project down into small steps. 

Feeling overwhelmed? One useful hack to get started is to break down a project into small steps. This makes it easier to get some traction, for example, use an old school timer, not your smartphone, to focus on a project, just start with ten minutes, you’ll be surprised what happens.

5. Carve out a schedule or routine. 

Whether you are at home alone or with a house full of children, make a daily schedule. Block out times of the day that are for you and your focus. Give yourself that time to dedicate your mind to the project at hand. Make that time about you and your goals.

6. Repeat steps 2-4 as many times as needed.

I want to start a business

Many of us have always had a pipe dream to start our own business and be our own boss one day. You may be thinking “how could I start a business during a pandemic?”.

According to Mark Cuban now is the best time to start a business. Cuban says despite the recession, new startups have a strong chance of success. “If you’re starting from scratch right now, you already have a good feel for new rules, post-pandemic. You already have a good feel on how to implement social distancing, if that’s applicable and work from home, if that’s applicable.”

Setting up your business with a virtual office is quick, easy, and very inexpensive. Here’s how to get started:

1. Put everything down in writing. 

Write out a business plan. Come up with a name for the business. And then register your business online. It’s quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive.

2. Get a virtual mailbox. 

A virtual mailbox allows you to have a real street address without having to give out your personal residence. You can use this address to file all of your paperwork and open a bank account. Stuck in your house? No problem at all. A virtual mailbox allows you to receive, open, view, forward and shred all of your postal mail from the comfort of your couch. Business formation need not stop just because of the ongoing pandemic. An Anytime Mailbox can be the backbone of your virtual office, when linked with a virtual phone number, to manage calls and voicemail. You’re in business with a real street address, a business phone number, and a virtual mailbox to manage your business postal mail & packages anywhere, anytime, all for less than $30 to $40 a month!

3. Get a digital phone number. 

Google Voice offers a free service allowing you to choose a digital phone number to associate with your business. The calls are forwarded to the phone number of your choosing and eliminate the need to have your personal phone number published across the internet.

Time at home can be time well spent

While you should make sure you put your mental health over accomplishing a staggering list of productivity goals, it would also be a waste to not use this “bonus time” to get around to doing things that have been languishing because you “just didn’t have the time”.

Make a promise to yourself to make this one of the most productive periods of time in your life. We can all agree that in pre-quarantine life, coming home to some free time was something we looked forward to, so use it wisely.

No doubt, the lure of Netflix, HBO, Disney+ and Hulu are powerful. And it is easy to fall prey to the habit of wasting your time with distractions to kill time and binge-watching television. So, avoid making this “dead time” and take this opportunity to invest in yourself, in your family, in your business, and in your own interests and make the most of it.

This will be a change for everyone, as the restrictions of social distancing aren’t going anywhere, nor is life returning to complete normality anytime soon. Accept the new norm and use this time to the best of your abilities. COVID-19 has changed our world as we once knew it, and while it has come with heartbreak and turmoil, it has also given us the chance to change what we want and take control of what we desire.

Although the numbers continue to lessen and states open in different capacities, this new schedule of “stay at home”, “work from home” will persist for a while. Use even the smallest free time to do something. If you finish something early, keep your work with you. This usually isn’t a problem in today’s world of super-connectivity, with easy access to laptops, tablets, and smartphones. If you find yourself with extra time, use it to knock out a task. Ben Franklin said it best, “Lost time is never found again”.

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