Slow things down and still finish your to-do list

The pandemic has most of us confined to our homes, working from our dining tables, sofas, or beds while juggling household chores, homeschooling and child-rearing. It’s easy for lines to be blurred and tasks and deadlines to pile up on top of each other. Checking off everything on your to-do list can seem ambitious, to say the least.  

Competing deadlines and lengthy to-do lists can leave us feeling exhausted and, in a rush to get things done, we risk not giving tasks (and the people around us) our full attention. 

But there are ways to cut down on the more chaotic elements of your day-to-day life while still maintaining a good level of productivity. By following these tips, you can find the time to enjoy life while still getting things done. Here are some smart ways to slow down.

Channel a sense of calm

Indian cities are known for their hustle and bustle. While this can be great motivation under usual circumstances, in a time where we are all worried about Covid-19, the chaos, crowds and endless tasks can feel overwhelming and downright unsafe. It’s time to step back and slow down.   

Chaos usually results in more chaos so be mindful of your actions throughout the day. Instead of leaping out of bed and running to your desk or eating lunch with one hand while typing with the other, take a few minutes to savor everyday experiences. Chew your food slower, have a hot cup of chai while taking in what’s going on around you and don’t reach for your phone the second you wake up. Instead, give yourself 10 minutes to lie there with your thoughts and ease into your day without a sense of urgency.

Be positive and proactive

It’s easy to feel helpless with all the restrictions imposed on us and an illness that is seemingly beyond our control. Taking charge of what is in your control is a great way to beat the pandemic blues and feel more positive. Besides all the necessary precautions such as social distancing and keeping hygiene standards up, being prepared for unfortunate events can give you some peace of mind. Make sure you and your family are covered by a good health insurance plan should any of you need medical care.

Avoid digital distractions

The online world means many people can work from almost anywhere and, over the past few years, a host of digital platforms have popped up that are aimed at helping us communicate and collaborate with colleagues wherever they might be. While these tools can help you multitask, notifications from software like Slack and Skype can sometimes be a distraction. Give your concentration levels a boost by muting these for an hour each day and giving one task your full attention. Alert co-workers that you will be unavailable and promise to respond when you are back online.   

Break down each project into bite-sized chunks

Ever feel like you are working at breakneck speed but getting nowhere fast? Having a coherent plan in place can really boost your productivity. It doesn’t matter what you are working on – a home renovation, a work presentation, a personal project – rushing to get started without careful consideration can end up slowing you down in the long run. Take time to map out exactly what needs to be achieved and assign timelines to each step to keep you on track and give you the peace of mind that you aren’t falling behind.

Be kind to yourself

According to  Microsoft’s Work Trend index, “India had the second-highest percentage of workers facing increased burnout in Asia at 29%.” This was based on a survey of 6,000 workers from eight countries. Working from home may seem like a good idea but the reality of it comes with many drawbacks. With a lot to do, remember that it is normal to feel overwhelmed so take a realistic approach. People often overestimate the amount of work they can get done and fail to finish their to-do list. This can cause anxiety levels to go into overdrive. While there’s no harm in making a note of everything you want to achieve, dividing that list into daily, weekly and monthly goals will make it look a lot more manageable. In addition, avoid overwhelming yourself by allocating more than enough time to complete each task – it may help to mark those that matter the most (no more than three) and make them a priority.