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Human Impact of Being Time-Poor

Baskar Sundaram

Time poverty is defined as not having enough time for restorative or personal activities. It includes not having time to perform necessary or committed activities like cooking a meal, socialising, sleeping, grooming, health-related self-care, household chores, and other personal or private activities. This is what most of us are experiencing now.

The pandemic has managed to completely disrupt and overthrow life as we know it.  As the country went under lockdown many people lost their jobs while others were forced to work from home. Companies were struggling to adapt to this sudden shift while workers were experiencing a clash between two different facets of their lives, the personal and the professional. Essential workers were working full time to keep up with the rising cases. But we all share one thing in common, every single one of us is trying to cope up with the various changes happening around us.

Working from home which would seem like a peaceful scenario under normal circumstances, has now become stressful. Working parents are overwhelmed by homeschooling children while managing their workload. Some employees tend to overwork as there are no fixed 9 to 5 working hours anymore and people are suddenly forced to create a schedule for themselves.

Isolation and quarantine have led to more issues. People do not have opportunities to socialise anymore. Most people relax after a tiring day by going out with friends or just relaxing at home. Both these options were closed off for all of us due to lockdown. There is no definite line that separates work and home when everyone is working from home. Suddenly your home becomes your office and you are in your ‘office’ the whole day but without your colleagues.

Organisations are dependent on technology to connect all the employees sitting in different parts of the country. Meetings, discussions, conference, webinars etc., are all being conducted online through various online platforms. Before, these conferences and meetings were opportunities for human interaction, socialising, networking and catching up with people. Now everything has become virtual. The human element of socialising and communicating has been lost between the screens, cameras and the internet.

Before the pandemic, there was a standard for measuring your daily achievement. When we get up, get dressed and go to the office, we feel motivated. We had an idea about a day well spend in the office. But when home became the ‘office’, even organisations were confused. Too many meetings were held and too many hours were spent in daily check-ins. There is no longer a difference between weekdays and weekends. The stress caused by the pandemic and overworking can take a mental toll on people.

Self-care is an aspect that people compromise on frequently. We move aside personal activities to cram in more work. We think we are being productive. Productivity starts with a healthy body and mind. During these unsure times, we need to set aside time and space for work and play.

Acknowledge and Embrace

Covid has changed our lives irrevocably. Meetings are a part of our life and we need to accept these changes. Virtual meetings are the only way to safely exchange information and meet clients. Safety comes first.

Schedule

Create a schedule where you set aside ‘focus’ time for projects and personal time for family and friends. Mention three key tasks you want to achieve in a day and prioritise those activities. Manage your calendar effectively. Create a schedule following your office hours. Keep for alarm in the evening to remind yourself that office time is over.

Set Boundaries

Have separate spaces for work and relaxing. Mixing both these areas will keep your mind alert even when you want to relax. Avoid unnecessary distractions in your workspace.

Manage Energy

Set your mornings aside for projects and activities that require the most energy and allocate meeting, checking emails to be done later in the day. Ensure that you get proper hours of sleep and make sure you take breaks in between meetings and work to rejuvenate yourself.

Compassion

Human understanding and kindness will always go a long way. If you are an employer check-in on your employees and reduce the number of meetings. Use productivity apps to create scedules and allot tasks. If you are an employee let your employer know when things are overwhelming and you need help. Check-in with your colleagues and help each other.

Time is a valuable resource. Time management is vital not just for productivity but for mental, emotional and physical well being.

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