Managing time and data when we are operating in strange times is something we all need to get used to. All over the world people are being forced to adjust to learning and working from home. Without the structure of an office or school environment this new system comes with its own set of time and data management challenges. By taking the time to arrange your priorities, you can give yourself the best chance of staying on track and organized, which in turn can help reduce stress levels while still being productive, and also find moments to relax and even save some money on the side. These tips will help you to efficiently manage your time and money while we all acclimatize to the new normal.

Most of us are very passive with our calendars. People tend to schedule us for meetings based on what works for them and the open space they spot in our calendars. But that may leave you very little time to actually get work done and the fragmented time ends up sucked up in busy but unproductive activities. Whether it’s a pin-up planner, a timetable or a calendar on your phone, find an organizing tool that works well for you and add your list of priorities to it. There are many time management apps that can help with this.

This also applies to students. Take the time to create a realistic study schedule. Revisit it as you progress to make sure you are leaving enough time to reach your goals. Constantly reviewing and reassessing your schedule can help you to recognize whether you need to make any changes in order to help you complete any study tasks and also have time to relax and spend time with friends and family.

When thinking about managing time and data, prioritizing energy management is another important skill to learn when working or learning from home. Being sensitive to one another’s energy helps us all work more effectively. Pay attention to when you are the most productive and focused. It may be the first few hours in the morning when you’re fresh from a night’s sleep. Or it may be towards the afternoon when you start to get a sense of what really needs to get done. Work to schedule your calendar to align with those energy windows. Discuss how to coordinate those energy windows with the energy windows of the others on your team.

It’s not just about time management, managing your connectivity correctly is another huge factor in your work or learning from home success. We all know the costs of data can add up, but there are measures that can be put in place to reduce your data usage so that you limit the amount you use while working remotely.

If you’re using mobile data, plan your day so that you work offline most of the time, and then only go online when you absolutely need to, such as to check emails or access documentation. Some mobile providers have nighttime data offerings, so you could opt to work than to keep your data costs low.

Monitor which devices connect to your router so that you can determine which ones are draining your connectivity. Your service provider will be able to assist you with checking this information.

Make sure your WiFi router has a password to control who has access.

If you have a mobile data package that you’re already paying for, use that to reduce the connectivity on your home network. When using applications such as Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams for video calling, opt to only use audio by default, and video only when necessary. It is also helpful to disable location or GPS related apps as they constantly run in the background to determine your whereabouts and set your mobile device to only receive updates when connected to WiFi.

Reduce the number of tabs you have open in your browser. The more activity, the more data you use and download content instead of streaming online or select low-quality settings on YouTube to reduce the amount of data you use.

Managing time and data skills can be tricky to learn but if you follow this advice, you’ll end up with a system for making sure every day is the best it can possibly be.