If time management seems like a daily challenge, you are not alone! Especially during this time of quarantine for COVID-19, it can seem like you are either so busy that you lose track of time, or that you’re so bored you don’t know what to do with yourself.
The key is to learn how to be more intentional with your time, using your intentions as reasons to take action. The actions you take become the habits you want to build, and great leaders are built from great habits. Although you are experiencing more time at home, you can still grow your leadership skills and come out of quarantine as a stronger person!
To be more intentional right now and develop your leadership muscles, try implementing these six ideas into your routine:
Make time for yourself.
Personal time is essential for your physical and mental well-being. Choose to exercise and eat right, for example. Read more books or start learning a new skill, either on your own or through an online class.
Open yourself up to family time.
You may have more of this than ever before, but resist the urge to close yourself off from your family. Instead, focus on the quality of your time together over activities, like games or bike rides, or meals or just simple conversation.
Play catch up.
Get intentional about what you may have forgotten or not had time for before quarantine. This is the perfect time to clean out your closet, study a challenging subject from school, or apply for a summer job.
Tap into your faith.
Whatever your beliefs, take the time for gratitude, reflection, and quietude. Channel your optimism and hope for the future with a meditation on what you believe in and how faith can carry you through.
Connect with others.
Reach out to people you haven’t seen in person lately, or even to those you’ve lost touch with … perhaps a family member or old pen pal. Write a card, send them a text, or set up a video chat. Take the lead on building a new conversation!
Set aside “think time.”
Make time in your day or your week to just think. Think about what opportunities may be ahead for you; think about your goals; think about new possibilities that may arise after quarantine. Remember this quote from Isaac Newton: “A big interruption becomes a big introduction to new possibilities and discoveries.”
When it comes to organizing your time, whether it’s with these six ideas or something else (like school work), one of the best tactics you can use is prioritization. List the top three objectives for your day, week, or month. These are your “Big Rocks,” meaning you need to chip away at them with more time, effort, and energy than any other tasks. A Big Rock could be a short-term or long-term goal, a project, a relationship, a job, or pretty much anything that is important to you.
Your Big Rocks are necessary to move your life forward in a positive way. They need special attention over and above smaller responsibilities. And so when it comes to moving the Big Rocks in your life, being a “prioritizer” is what you want to strive for!
In order to be an effective prioritizer for your responsibilities, you may need to implement some new tactics to your time management. Here are some examples you could try:
- Use a planner to outline your tasks. This could be on your phone, in a notebook, or a pre-printed binder.
- Every Sunday, map out your week by scheduling your Big Rocks first.
- Use calendar alarms or reminders from your phone to keep yourself on task.
- Prep for each day the night before. That might be as simple as jotting down your day’s activities.
- Have a “gathering point” for all of your important materials that are related to your Big Rocks.
- Track your time spent on tasks. How long you think it takes and how long it actually takes may be two different things.
Managing your time well means that you care about your goals and your results. It means that you want to develop your leadership skills to be an example to others, and to advance with positivity in your life no matter what the circumstances are. As a leader, you are called to take charge of your time and take ownership of your outcome!