Posted: 11 Nov. 2020 6 min. read

Who stole my time?

Learn more and stay ahead

We seem to be constantly at our work-from-home desks and buried in work, but somehow fall short of time to complete pending tasks.

Even without the commute and break times at office, it seems like suddenly we are saving up time in a leaking bucket. Is it a COVID-19 normal? Could it be the constant pings and calls we answer now? Or could it be the blurring boundaries between work and home?

I think it’s a completely different answer—one that has been lurking around but now jumps out at me—we are all learning.

Here are three things that made me look at the current way of work-life differently.

We are all creatures of habit

When we have a routine, we master it and go into autopilot. Once we are on autopilot, we don’t struggle to do the task—it flows easily, enabling us to be faster and multitask. If you remember your first days of PowerPoint, or the first time you drove, what first took you hours with much effort now takes minutes and comes with ease. Your mind was training to get fluent with the skills at play.

We are not losing but learning

And right now, we are all on a new path of learning. There is an absence of body language that used to help us tailor our conversations. Managing ourselves has suddenly been redefined—some are battling a nagging feeling of being left out while others are trying to get over bad health habits (without common lunch breaks, have we forgotten to eat on time?).

Never have we faced so many disruptions all at once.

When all the patterns are disrupted, our minds try to grapple with the new routines and find new patterns that work. Hence, we slow down on usual tasks. But eventually we all bounce back to thrive in the new state of being—the key is to keep searching for solutions in a stress-free way.

Knowing that chaos gives way to newer possibilities goes a long way in calming down the stress. Let’s stay curious to find new ways of being efficient and then go into autopilot.

Ask yourself, what are you being led by?

While exploring unchartered terrain, there are two choices: to either fear what lies ahead, or forge ahead irrespective of what comes your way. And collaboration is a great way to forge ahead. When faced with daunting tasks, it helps to ask: “Where do I need help, and how do I get it?”

To share an example, in the month of January 2020, we decided to digitize the entire onboarding experience for new hires.

It all seemed impossible at the beginning, especially when the pandemic was not onto us then. We quickly got together a team of professionals to create a seamless new-hire onboarding site that minimizes our operational effort and enhances our onboarding experience. 100% of the attendees rated the platform high on satisfaction, relevant, and experience. Now other teams in Deloitte are looking to adapt it in their respective business areas.

What an outcome of forging ahead with collaboration! This goes to show the power of thinking ahead.


Pivoting our focus to the present day, we see that in the current scenario, working in silos has become a literal way of work—it is possible to lose sight of what we are collectively aiming for. In our new work routine, what are some of the expectations to reconsider?

It’s time to find smarter and faster ways to get to the impact that we are aiming for. And for this to happen, we need to break away from our traditional mindset of “this is the type of work we do, and this is how we work.” Put simply, just because we are used to doing things a certain way does not necessarily mean that we are doing it well in the current context. In such a scenario, a penchant for learning plays an integral role, backed by resilience and adaptability; in short, a growth mindset propels one to learn more and stay ahead.


Summing it up

While most of us are still adjusting to and learning the new norm of telecommuting (and a few may be even ready with a blueprint of their future way of working), ongoing and upcoming festivities and holidays now offer a strong reason to now delink “work” from “home” and learn this new balance.

I hope this musing of mine helped you relook at your work-life today. 

About the author

Anshu Mittal is a senior manager in the Client & Market Growth (CMG) group at Deloitte Support Services Private Limited. He is a home-grown speaker, writer, and author for Deloitte on all major point-of-views and research thoughtware in the energy & resources industry.

The views expressed here are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of his current, former, or future employers or any organization with which he is associated.