Monday, September 26, 2016

SΩ21 - Mastering Time

We live in a time where ‘I’m busy’ is a catch phrase! Yet if we look deeper is everyone truly ‘busy’ or instead struggling to manage their time? In the fourth lives session of our slack group we had a stellar three-man panel: Rob and Carlos (two entrepreneurs) and myself (freelancer). Rob’s startup, iRecargones, provides unique telecom services. Carlos’s startup, Iyiyim, provides event planning solutions. Myself I'm a freelance English teacher, writer and blogger.

If this post inspires you to become the master of your time, make sure to check out the mini-guide at the end. Without further ado, here is the meat of our Q&A session:

Q1 (Peter): When someone, a superior gives you some work, how do you decide on the deadline?

Carlos: Make sure to clarify with your boss the task & deadline
Rob: 1) Do it right away 2) If your schedule is clear 3) You have the available resources 4) You can do the task
Mario: Know the priorities of your company and your role

Q2 (Alejandro): What do you do when minor and urgent tasks distract you from the most important ones?

Rob: Delegate and get the most important tasks done first.
Mario: Knowing how much time each task takes and finish what you started, unless the urgent task can be done quickly. Urgency is relative, right?

Q3 Shahid: How to balance your personal and professional life especially when you’re company is demanding?

Carlos: Make the work schedule clear, before signing a work contract.
Mario: When a task is not your responsibility be firm about it, with your boss, yet communicate it with care. Depends a lot on the company environment and relationship with your boss.
Rob: If the company/job requires extra hours, it really needs to have a great environment such as 24 hours food service (free), open bar (no kidding), and a lot of activities.

Q4 Mario: If you had to give 1 time management tip, what would it be?

Rob: Find ways to break down a goal into manageable steps, instead of overthinking it.
Carlos: Keep in mind that tasks always take at least two or three times the time you initially think they will require.
Mario: If you want to be successful in life, know clearly what your priorities are. Stop spending time on everything/everyone that keeps you away from your personal priorities.

Mini-Guide: Time Management
  1. First and foremost as you can see from the Q&A time management strategies vary based on each person. The best is to try a few different methods and see what works best for you. 
  2.  Likely the most important part in time management is realizing your personal life priorities. Here you might also consider your preferred work versus life balance.
  3. Take a few weeks to track how you use your time. Are there activities/people that keep you from accomplishing your main priorities? For example how much time do you spend on work, social life, fitness, watching TV, etc.
  4. Create a daily, weekly, and/or monthly schedule from all the tasks/activities you want to do. This step is unique to the person, yet something like a to-do list or tools like Trello can help.
  5. When creating your schedule, be realistic! We are only human and have ~16hrs per day when we are awake. Hopefully, you’ll see even if you accomplish a few tasks per day your time will become more manageable.

I strongly believe that becoming the master of your time will lead to a more fulfilling life! Time management is a valuable skill and one that does take practice to learn. Please share your own methods in the comments or continue this discussion below. 

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