Smart working: Let’s give more value to our own time

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Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.
(Harvey MacKay)

Time is one the most valuable resources we possess. We were used to manage it according specific rules and patterns that were dictated by our routine. But now that our lives have changed dramatically how can we make the most of our own time? We spend a big part of our day performing a set of tasks that should be engaging and rewarding to us: these tasks are our job. This article will talk about how to best handle our work from home routine giving you few but fundamental pieces of advice.

Let’s start from the assumption that in order to establish a new routine we need to keep old habits where possible. This means to work, eat and exercise at the same hours of the day we were used to. If on one hand many Italians are not used to work remotely for a such long time, on the other hand this situation can represent a new opportunity. An opportunity to learn how maximize productivity and have more free time. As was highlighted in one report of Ogilvy, we need to establish a set of rules and expectations in order to so.

Here are three simple rules to always bear in in mind.

  1. Do not multitask: this is a rule to adopt in every working situation, but we want to enforce it also here. Carrying out two task at the same time will result in a poor performance in both at best, while concentrating on a single task allows us to produce high quality work.
  2. Keep structure & organization: physical distancing can increase changes of misunderstandings at work and of time wasting. As highlighted in a study by McKinsey, it’s very important to work in small teams, to keep regular and efficient communication, support teammates and connect the dots. Free platforms such as Monday.com or Trello allow us to be always up to date on “Who”, “What”, “When”. In addition, scheduling video-calls on Skype, Zoom, or WebEx can not only mitigate the sense of loneliness but is a much more natural and quick way of communicating as opposed to emails or text. Not to mention the fact that video-calls allow for greater relationship development within the team.
  3. Keep work and personal lives separate: when working from home, separating our professional and personal life can be more challenging. We suggest to appoint one are of your home exclusively to remote-working so as to minimize sources of distraction or disturbance. It’s highly suggested to work between normal business hours in order to have time for family and hobbies. Therefore the “always on” work mode has to be avoided.

We would like to conclude this article with a thought that also refers to the initial quote. It’s a thought that we have heard in many forms, from different people, but that we tend to avoid because it is the kind of thought that makes us feel uncomfortable. We would like to summarize it this way: our personal time is too precious to be wasted in doing something we do not like. Change is scary and difficult, but by believing that it is not worth our effort means not only to not value our time but ourselves as well. Let’s give more value to ourselves, to our time because what we have lost will not come back again. We can only decide how to best spend the time we have left.

Our wish remains the same: may this challenging times be the opportunity for our regeneration.