In all honesty, I am a jack of all trades, master of none. This is because I have a lot of interests, goals and I get bored easily that sometimes I don’t finish anything. Case in point, I am trying to learn a new language (sometimes Spanish, sometimes Arabic, with the sporadic lessons on Korean and Nihongo) trying to learn how to play the ukulele, in the middle of crocheting a blanket, trying to improve my photography, writing several novels with no beginning and ending (yet), scouring for universities with blended learning to get my Master’s Degree and those are just the things I want to do that I could enumerate at a moment’s notice. I’m sure my years of journal has a long “bucket list” of other things I want to pursue. Plus I have this blog, freelance writing gigs and my full time job I sometimes have a hard time keeping track of what I need to do at the moment.
You might be thinking I should not bite more than I can chew right? But, life is short to not try and do things, am I right? So if you feel like there are times when 24 hours is not enough, I have few suggestions on how you, a busy OFW could still have time to engage in whatever activity your heart and soul is at its happiest.
Keep a Journal
I think I have already mentioned this point once (or a thousand times) but it’s really true. My mind is at times (actually all the times) a mess that I find it hard to focus. My journal comes to the rescue at instances like these because I keep a schedule which tells me what I need to finish by the end of the day. It tracks my deadlines for my writing assignments; possible blog topics for OFWtalks should it be my turn, YouTube channels for tutorials on whatever project I am currently doing and my all-time favorite, a “brain dump” page. There are times when hundred thoughts are running on my mind that I have to “let some go” for me to think and concentrate at the task at hand. After writing down everything that I am thinking, it feels like emptying my brain with thoughts that are irrelevant at the moment. Once one task is done, I looked at what I wrote and start with the others. At the end of the month, it also helps me once I see my “I did it” list and encourages me to be as productive or more for the next month.
Having a list of your priorities would keep you in check especially if there are deadlines involved. It is easy to be distracted especially if you would rather do something else more entertaining. For me, when I am writing and I need to check the internet for something, I ended up watching fluffy malamute puppies playing on walkalators. My point is, if we do not know how to prioritize, we would not finish anything. Before your day starts, make a list of to do’s and put the most important task at number one. It is also better to tackle something that is difficult and something that you don’t particularly like because after you finish it, you would have a sense of accomplishment and the other more trivial or simpler tasks would be a breeze. As OFWs, we sometimes do things that are not included in our job responsibilities since employers already now how hardworking we are (naks!). When this happens, do what is expected of you first before helping someone else. Don’t stop what you are doing to accommodate others because your “rhythm” would be interrupted, and it would take time for you to find your footing again.
In order for you not to wander while doing a task, fix a reminder for yourself. Set your alarm for hourly or minutely intervals and make sure that before your alarm rings, you managed to finish the task at hand and have started on the next one. If you are also trying to learn another language like me, some of the apps would send you notifications reminding you of your “class”. Just make sure that your alarm would not disrupt anyone else in the office but still noticeable enough to jolt you awake in case you turned idle.
Do Not Multi Task
I am guilty of this. You might think this is ironic especially for someone who wants to do a lot of things. But in reality, multi-tasking breeds mediocrity. Yes, you would manage to finish a lot of your tasks, but the quality of the results would only be subpar since your attention is divided. Focus on one thing first before jumping on doing another. Your mind should always be with you 100% of the time. For us OFWs, social media is not only a means to be connected with our love ones, it is also a distraction. How many of us are guilty of talking to a colleague while messaging someone on FB messenger? If you are at work, limit the use of social media, otherwise your supervisor might call your attention about a report you mistakenly filled with emojis since you were busy chatting.
Take a Breather
This is a no brainer but sometimes we need to be reminded of. No matter how busy we are, we still need to take a breather. Take a walk and or stretch. Leisurely make a cup of coffee or tea. Don’t be eager to jump back to work after your break. I’m not saying abuse your break and stay in the pantry for couple of hours. Just give time for your brain to relax. Trying to rush into finishing things would only make things worse because your brain is already too tired. You would not be able to come up with fresh and exciting ideas until you let your mind reboot. If possible, go outside and breathe some fresh air.
These are just some time management tips you could employ if you are like me who have a hard time concentrating yet wanting to accomplish a lot of things. So far, I haven’t finished anything on my list. But hey, I managed to write this piece before my deadline so yeah, the system works.
All the best!