The modern workplace has taken on an extremely different appearance in recent years. Just 30 years ago, there was no internet or mobile phone to bring your attention back to work during your off time. This also meant that work mostly stayed within the confines of the office itself. Nowadays, the concept of the office is transforming rapidly, people are permanently connected and freelancing is growing in popularity.
Workplace aside, with constant connectivity, the difference between switching off and remaining on is considered a bit of a gray area. Between emails, news feeds, social media push notifications or personal organization apps, people are beginning to ask themselves when exactly they are switched off. This is demonstrated in dystopian shows like the popular British series Black Mirror, which depicts a world where technology, social media and digital connectivity as a whole plays havoc with our humanity (or perhaps vice versa!). Despite the progress we have made in terms of technology, most of us have yet to figure out how to forge a healthy relationship with it.
The disadvantages of being permanently on
There are many disadvantages involved with being both permanently connected and switched on:
- Burnout: With information overload and overexposure to social and work related activity, it is common for people to suffer from a burnout.
- Social anxiety: In the digital world, many people create a certain outgoing and vibrant persona which may not translate to real life. This can often times add to a form of social anxiety when in public and people are expected to live up to an online character.
- Meaningless interactions: By being permanently connected, you run the risk of jeopardizing your face to face interactions constant interruptions from the digital world.
This is where time management comes in: one of the most useful life skills that is definitely worth trying to perfect. By assigning yourself time for work, family, friends, sport, and relaxing, you can also apply times for being connected and not. For example: no laptops, smartphones or tablets at the dinner table during family time. For most people, categorizing your time is the best way forward – especially for freelancers or self-employed people.
Top tips for managing your time effectively
Although at first, managing all aspects of your time may seem daunting, there are certain tips and techniques to keep you on track.
Keep an eye on the time
Quite simply, keeping an eye on the time allows you to stay on track with your schedule. What’s important here is to make sure you have another means of telling the time that is not one of your devices. If you’re not a watch-wearer, perhaps it’s high time you start. Whether you splash out on the likes of a fine Rolex timepiece, or opt for any old watch you find lying around the house, the crucial part is that it’s dedicated to time-telling.
Plan a realistic schedule
When making your first weekly schedule, don’t go too hard on yourself and don’t be too ambitious. Your first schedule should not be a major departure from your current daily activities and should not put you off scheduling future weeks.
Revamp your schedule on a weekly basis
Schedule yourself a quick 20 minutes or so every Sunday evening to have a look at how your last schedule worked out and how you would like to improve it. As the weeks go by, your schedules should become increasingly easy to stick to.
Schedule your disconnected time
Whether you’re scheduling in a disconnected slot for yourself, or pairing it up with slots like sport, family or social, make sure you include some time to switch off. Another tip: many people find it beneficial to incorporate a switch off period before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Time management involves a lot of prioritizing. As always, you will probably find that there are not enough hours in the day for you to do everything you would like to do. The chances are, something will get bumped off your list of daily activities – this is usually the likes of meditation, jogging, cleaning or personal administration tasks – these tasks should be given priority the next day or week.
In no time, you’ll reap the rewards of time management. You may find that there is less stress and wasted time in your daily routine, and the time you are spending with people and things may take on more meaning and value.