Cool Tip #45: Six (6) Tips on How You can Make Smart Use of Your Time as an OFW


One of the most valuable things in this world is time, and this is all the more so true for OFWs around the world. Time is precious for OFWs. Time that should’ve been spent with children and loved ones is being spent instead on work in some foreign land; time that should’ve been spent resting is being spent instead on trying to maximize the number of hours one can work in a week; time that should’ve been spent thinking about happy things is being spent instead on thinking about problems. Time is a very limited resource and yes, while it is true that OFWs should be making the most out of it by working as hard as they possibly can, let us not forget that time should also be spent on other things! Here are some tips for OFWs on how to do this, and more:

  1. Know your priorities. This is the first thing you should do if you’re thinking about using your time more smartly. Set your priorities straight. If you have multiple things to do, think about the importance and urgency of each task and decide from there which tasks most deserve the use of your time. Take note of deadlines. Also, keep in mind that you can never really say you don’t have time for something—the more accurate reason is that you can’t make time for it. You will always make time for the important things in life; what those are depends on you.
  2. Make a list. To help you with tip #1, why don’t you try writing all your tasks down in the form of a to-do list. Doing so will accomplish two things. First, it will take a huge load off your mind to remember all these things. And second, it will help you be more organized. You will be able to visualize and think about your tasks better, and more effectively distribute the use of your time in the process. As a final note on this tip, there are some apps that can help you in making these lists (you can even program some of them to send you reminders from time to time)—a quick search through the application store of your smartphone if you have one should prove useful.
  3. Remember that things usually use up more time than planned. When making your to-do list or your daily schedules, be sure to allocate time allowances for each task you are doing. It will save you a lot of worry later on if ever your plans suddenly change on the spot. This is important to remember for OFWs who work on a shift-based system—try not to cram too many shifts in one day, especially if they take place in very different locations.
  4. Free time is a task—schedule it. OFWs work so hard through the course of a day (or week) without even bothering to give themselves some breathing space. As we talked about in our previous cool tip (6 tips on how to stay healthy abroad: see here), your health is of the utmost importance and you should be giving yourself some time to recharge after a hard day’s work. This is not just physical health we are talking about; this includes mental, social, and emotional health. All these aspects should be kept in top condition, and what better way to do that than by integrating some breaks into your schedule. Even a short 15-minute break from work during the day will do wonders for you!
  5. Don’t cram. Students aren’t the only ones who cram. When something important comes your way, don’t wait for next week to do it. Set to work on it immediately. For example, when your child wants to talk to you about a problem in school, don’t put it off a day later! Doing important things early will help save you a lot of time in the future, and it will also ensure that you are doing those things correctly.
  6. Be aware of timezones. Living overseas, you must already be aware that the time at the country where you are is not always the same as the time back in the Philippines. When setting appointments with your loved ones, friends, or work/business relations back in the Philippines, always remember to account for the timezone difference! Agree on a time that is convenient for both you and the person/s you will be talking to in the Philippines. Also, taking note of timezone differences is particularly important for greeting people back home on special events like birthdays or anniversaries.

So there you have it, OFW on Air’s cool tips on how to become awesome time managers. From this point on, let’s all make good use of our time and remember that work isn’t the only thing in the world worth spending our time on.

Happy time-saving mga Ka-Tsong!