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05 Oct

Date = Today. My Thoughts on Managing Time

Screwing it up shouldn’t “screw” you in general.

What do I mean? We’ll probably never get to the point where everything we do will be “just perfect”. Even though, we should always shoot for the stars, screwing it up is part and can be the end result of the process.

Why is this a problem? In fact, it isn’t. Screwing it up means engaging yourself in a learning experience so next time you’ve done something “wrong”, you will just learn a new thing.

In my case, I work as a marketer in a fast-paced company where I screwed up many times. Having said that, my biggest screw ups were due to time restrictions. Although we get to work hard to achieve the best results out of everything, we also have to work smart.

Time management is for sure one of the hardest things to do.

The time we choose to spend on doing a specific thing is determined by us depending on its importance. In order to help everyone have control over their tasks, we use Asana – a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work.

The best feature about this app, is that it gives us the ability to choose the date of our tasks – and so we can put deadlines, prioritize things and keep everything clean and tidy.

All of the team members have their own list of tasks and every day they go through their tasks to prioritize, move them around in case something urgent comes up and assign tasks to others.

So, what makes a task “urgent”? And can anyone “disrupt” my task list with something that came up?

Unless the page is down (OMG) or there’s a big bug which has to be fixed the soonest possible, the person assigning a task to someone should be mindful of the other member’s time and what they are working on during the day.

I’ll take this opportunity to say that in I2L we use Slack as our internal messenger.

Every morning we have to write in a channel called “my-work-today”, the top 3 things that (you guessed it right) we are working on on that day so that the other team members know if we are busy, if what we do requires slow-thinking mode aka do not interrupt mode etc.

Having said that, all assigned tasks should have dates. Dates are not deadlines (unless explicitly mentioned in the task) but an indication of prioritization or just a tool needed for the other person to see the task.

If something is not urgent, we usually assign it at the end of the current (or the next week). If it’s more urgent than that, then add any date from tomorrow to the end of the week.

Assigning tasks with date = today can create stress to the other team member, especially if the task is not urgent. As a team, we need to add an extra acknowledgement in the task if we are going to send it to any team member with date = today.

Extra acknowledgement, why?

If we assign the task with date = today (and the page is not down), we need to make it clear to the reader why that specific task is incredibly important.

In that way we transmitting all the information needed for the reader to know why they should “pause” their tasks for the day in order to pay attention to our task and go out of their way to accommodate it.

So, by writing this blog I’ve came to the realization that indeed in I2L we learn how to value the reader’s time more than our own. We want things to be clear, prioritized and screwed up.

That way, you will get to write a blog post about it and share the learning with the rest of the team :)

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