The new normal has turned our 9 am to 5 pm office into a 5 am to 11 pm office. It has made the virtual more real. Everything from the dress code, bathing, shaving rituals, child-rearing, and education has changed for most of us. Work as well as education are being home delivered to our drawing rooms and bedrooms. It is imperative that we revisit how time is accounted for, utilized, and invested by individuals, families, businesses, and societies. Businesses that involve the assembly of humans at one place like schools, playgrounds, public transport terminals, and activities that call for intimate human touches like the preparation of food and its distribution have changed forever. As a time abundance trainer, improving efficiencies and inculcating behaviors that magically create more time available to people is my primary concern. Given the situation, we are in due to the protracted lockdowns, work-from-home, and the partial halting of the public transport system, we should have had more time. The truth is that even those who are no longer traveling are experiencing that they have even less time than they had earlier.
This is happening because we have not only permitted the office to invade our house, we have also allowed it to eat into hours beyond what used to be our routine workday. Whether this is done because bosses are demanding it, or because we are ourselves working at a pace that has allowed this to happen, the result is that many among us are shorter of time than we have ever been.
At the heart of the time-creating strategies that I teach is the creation of efficiencies in individual, familial, social, and corporate processes. These efficiencies are caused by a formula I call the signing of the PDC (Problem Solving + Delegation + Compassion).
Problem-solving + Delegation + Compassion = Efficiency
# An example of problem-solving would be to reduce attrition by arranging home pickups and drops for employees living in cities with overburdened transport systems.
# Delegation is the act of offloading part of one’s work that offers low ROTI (Return on time invested) to someone else so one can create more time for stuff that offers higher ROTI. Wasting valuable time in micromanaging stuff that can be delegated is not an intelligent thing to do.
# Compassion has to do with viewing colleagues as human beings and not just as human resources. Human beings have needs like the education of children, housing, and health that corporate entities can solve at cheaper rates and save time, money, and effort for colleagues who are contributing to the growth story of the brand.
A willingness to solve problems, to delegate, and the exercise of compassion combine to create a culture of efficiency, which I call a time-abundant culture because it saves a lot of time. It is self-evident that all members of a team who are part of such a time abundant culture are in a position to get more done in more time.
Creating such a time abundant culture takes a series of actions that are beyond the scope of this small piece but here are a few steps you can take right now to usher time abundance in a small measure in your life right now.
So, here are my five ‘to-dos’ that will long way towards creating time abundance in your life in the post-COVID world.
#1. Limit screen time/ Work less – Most of us who were used to checking our phones first thing in the morning on waking and the last thing before calling it a day have overwhelmed ourselves with too much time before the screen. Six hours with a screen guard and hourly breaks is the most anyone should be doing.
#2. Become online-savvy – Raise your awareness of online tools that can help you save time. The COVID virus has forced people to explore options online and made people realize that a lot of locomotion is avoidable to get the job done. Even after the virus has been defeated, the virtual world will continue to become more real in all aspects of life. Ensure that you familiarise and use all available tools to ‘create’ more time.
#3. Love your mate – And your parents, and kids. If you are working from home, ensure that you are not so overwhelmed by work that it impacts family time. With kids home, you are probably among those shouldering the responsibility of ensuring that the timetable is followed diligently by the kids on google classrooms. Be conscious in your loving. Be love.
#4. Make it a season of learning and giving – I have contributed as an author to five different books during the lockdown, three of which are with groups of authors who have decided to donate all revenues from sales of the books worldwide to charity. It is a very good time to reach out, support, and make a difference. Give karma a reason to smile upon you, Find a way of making a difference.
#5. Exercise– Lack of physical movement has unwelcome consequences for your mental and physical health and on our relationship with your family and your workplace. Find ways of becoming efficient that make it possible for you ‘create more time’. Do not forget that sitting the new smoking. Its cumulative effect can be fatal.
Be solutions-driven, delegate whatever you can, and take compassionate action to make life easier for your own self, colleagues, company, and your customers.
Happy PDC, friends!
Author – Brigadier Sushil Bhasin