As deadlines approach, it can be hard to separate your studies from your personal life, especially when working from home. In this blog, Tiwalolu Odesanya tells us about an app that can help you to manage your time more efficiently and reclaim some moments to yourself.
Work and Personal life. They are one and the same. No?
Before the pandemic, I would go to school physically and take classes, come back home and dump my bag by my table unless I planned to study that evening. Everything was segregated. Time for school was time for school, time for soccer was for exactly that, and time for gaming? Well, that was sacred. Now, for the most part, almost no segregation exists. All my classes and fun activities happen at the same place. Online. The lines are blurred.
Working from home, a dream that has become mandatory this year, can have a really positive effect on productivity and stress levels. However, in order to enjoy these benefits for the long term, we must maintain a good work life balance. If we do not segregate and make boundaries, we will sleep or play when really we should be studying or working on a report and end up fighting to finish our work at 11pm. I’m not speaking from experience, okay? The reverse also happens when instead of resting, we drag our work into our “me- time”. These bad habits can mess with our stress levels, the quality of our relationships and our general life satisfaction. There was a reason we left our work in the office and our Play Stations at home.
How can we un-blur the boundaries between our personal lives and work? Well, modern problems require modern solutions. Apps. I have to state that this method, like any other thing in life can only be successful if we are disciplined. Do not say I was wrong if you uninstall the app so you can go back to twitter before it was time. Again, I’m not saying that out of experience.
The first thing to do is to create a work timetable. Do not schedule every daily activity. Choose the amount of hours you want to work per week and divide them as you wish between the five working days of the week. Yes, that’s right, five. Let’s keep the weekends sacred. A quick example will be a scenario where David wants to work on his accounting module for 6 hours a week, his space systems module for 5 hours, and his saxophone skills for 13 hours. He divides this time in a way that he works 6 hours on Monday in 2 hour slots such as 8 to 10, 12 to 2 etc. He does the same division for Tuesday and the other days as he sees fit. He cannot, of course, indulge in anything other than work within that time period.
Now every hour unaccounted for on your timetable is to be used as you wish for everything except work. At this point, if you have everything on a paper timetable with all the lines and times, and you feel it is enough to help you keep the routine, then you are good to go! Timetables are so much better than winging it. However, if you want to be cool and for all your friends to ask you about the productivity apps that you use, keep reading.
I actually specifically suggest just one app because some readers use iOS while some use Android, and while both are cool, it’s sometimes a nightmare to find apps that are free and compatible with both. This app is for creating a to-do list. Wait it doesn’t sound cool that way. It’s for creating a schedule. With TickTick, you can create a repeatable fully customized schedule by setting up tasks with time limits. It may take you a while to set it up for the whole week according to your timetable, but that really depends on how your time slots for working varies from day to day.
How can you stay disciplined and stick to it? There are a few apps out there as well, with varying levels of aggressiveness. Some just prompt you to drop the mobile or stop the gaming, while some will lock your phone screen for a specified amount of time and even restarting the phone won’t help. So it really is up to you to choose if you will go with self-discipline or artificial discipline. Self-discipline may sound cool but sometimes it’s hard so don’t be ashamed to seek a little or a lot of help from apps.
Personally, this system works for me and I overindulge on the scheduling a little bit sometimes because it really does boost my productivity. It also enhances the quality of my fun time because I know I’ve earned it so I don’t worry about the 3 exams coming up because the preparation time is scheduled. Anyway, the scheduled time for writing this is over and I’ll catch you guys in the next one. Peace.
By Tiwalolu Odesanya