During our an MBA TEC session it was time to discuss the never-ending skill-to-have: time management. I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from the session, I mean, is there new information on the topic?: to do lists, prioritizing, balance, books, etc?
To my surprise, and my classmates, it was a very good and intensive session. It was a session where all participants shared their methods (tools, what work and personal examples). Each experience brought something new to the discussion, an insight that can make you wonder if it could work if you apply it to your life. Then at the end, we had round table to go into details.
From this experience I’d like to share in this post what I presented to the group. I tried to be a little theatrical, so will try to write it as such:
- Act I: I ask everyone to close their eyes while I mentioned something like:
“you wake up, you mentally try to organize your week and realize that you need to go to the supermarket, organize two meetings with different clients in opposite venues of the city on the same day (still pending when). Have to give an update on a pro-bono work for an NGO to seek funding, and remind you boss to check the last version of the report by mid-week. Don’t forget to call your in-laws and congratulate them on their anniversary at the same time not to forget to go to their grandson’s (your son) soccer game on the weekend (where you are the coach). Set time to read the thinking fast and slow book from D. Kahneman, and ….“
- Act II: I just pose the question (still with their eyes still close):
What are you feeling right now?!. Faces with overwhelming look appear.
- Act III: As I asked them to open their eyes, I presented the following image. An image which amplifies the chaos of time and things to do.
This is how one can feel when trying to deal with all activities, balance work-life and other.
Nonetheless, when sitting down and writing what’s important, due dates, tasks to achieve them, with reachable indicator along the way things transition from impossible to possible.
Still, nothing is perfect, and constant work and revision needs to occur, e.g. how to take into account for unexpected events, how to better include leisure and exercise into the MBA life, how to weigh quality vs quality for working group and study time. Issues shared by all, and where the open TEC discussion helped put certain things into perspective.
From my side, and without going into details, I try to do the following in my time management strategy:
- Allocate time to reflect, visualize and plan
- Listen and learn from others
- Use a lot of visuals
- Take advantage of technology to keep things organized
Again, you may have your technique and surely it can be improved if discussed with how others also approach time management.
Do share you techniques, and how they have helped!