October 20, 2014

On Time Management

One of my objectives for taking my MBA is to build on what I know. With so many topics, classes, case studies, concepts, and tools taught, there is a tendency for one to get overwhelmed. The fast paced nature of an MBA is part of what makes it so challenging.

This part few weeks have been very, very challenging. Balancing work + school + family + business is a recipe for disaster if you don't know how to manage your time properly.

I've learned a few tricks for time management that helped me get through the past few months and weeks. Hopefully, they continue to keep me together up until graduation in a few more months!

Tip 1: Keep to your schedule, meaning, be on time
This is easier said than done given the many factors beyond our control. I'm not just talking about being on time to meetings (which is crucial and basic in my mind). I'm also talking about being "on time" for time that you set aside for each specific aspect of your life. For example, I set aside for myself at least one hour everyday (during lunch hour for example) to catch up on forum posts on IE Campus. Outside of this given time block, I will refrain from checking it. This keeps me sane as forum posts can get out of hand and contrary to what you might think, constantly checking (via the very accessible IE Campus App) doesn't really help.

Tip 2: Relax a bit and be flexible
This trick I learned from my wife. Instead of losing my cool when things don't go as planned, I have learned to relax and adjust to the situation. For example, I bring along my school work with me so whenever I find myself in a jam (unscheduled stop or activity), I can pull out those case studies and get some reading done.

Tip 3: Have self-discipline to say no to some things
There are so many distractions out there. My suggestion is make a list of those distractions and prioritize and only make time for what you feel is the most important to you. For example, my wife and I love going out to watch movies as a form of relaxation. Because this is of a much higher priority for us, than say, watching TV or going out for some drinks, I have let go of watching TV completely and instead have settled for an occasional movie date with my wife.

Tip 4: Try and get some rest
You'll function better and have a sharper mind if you get some rest first. For example, it is not uncommon for me to go to bed quite early. I want to set an example to my kids and often have to tuck them in and tuck myself in at 930pm. What I've learned is that after a few hours of sleep, I'm ready to go again. So I often get back up really early in the morning (say 230am) to get some readings or work in.

These tips are by no means bible truth. Everyone is of course different and there are different ways to adjust and adapt to each one's situation. It just so happens that these are some of the time management tricks I've picked up over the past few months which I hope someone else will also find helpful in the future.