Hi, I am Mrinal and I work as the Chief of Staff at Le15. To all of you wondering what this designation really entails, well, maybe we can address that in another blog post, however, what I can surely tell you is that a very important part of my job involves effectively managing not just my time but also that of Pooja’s (CEO) and Devika’s (COO) which is why I thought this would be an apt topic for my first blog post EVER.

I remember hearing the term time management for the first time in Class 7 and many more times ever since. I have had so many questions – Why is it so important to manage time well? How do I manage my time and prioritize tasks? How do I know which tasks to do first? How do I know that I am doing a good job at managing my time effectively?

While I believe time management will always be a work in progress for me; along the way, I have learnt about a lot of hacks, tools and processes that work for me and many more that don’t. I have also learnt about a few myths that many of us, if not all, believe to be true. This is my attempt at addressing most of these points and I hope that this read will be worth your time.

Before I tell you guys about the time hacks that have worked for me, let me bust a few myths about time management:

  • The goal of time management is working towards an all-time high productivityIf I could get a penny every time I read/heard about time management for work productivity, I would be a very rich person today. Contrary to what we believe, productivity is a lousy goal for time management. The problem with productivity – expressed as a ratio of outputs to inputs – is that it is merely a metric derived keeping machines in mind, not humans. On the other hand, roadblocks related to time management have a lot to do with very human elements like procrastination, mental state of mind etc. unlike machines. Instead of productivity, I learnt that aiming for effectiveness & efficiency yields much better results without the added pressure and stress of having unrealistic continuous productivity as a goal. So next time you feel like pushing yourself through energy slumps, DON’T! Take a break instead, rejuvenate and then get back to work and you will notice that the much needed break helped you achieve a lot more in lesser time.
  • Multitasking helps you get more done in less time / multitasking kills efficiency: It is not difficult to find different talks/articles glorifying or vilifying multitasking; yet I have seen so many contrasting examples of people benefiting as well as suffering as a result of multitasking. A lot of us say multitasking when what we actually mean is rapid switching of tasks. Multitasking is doing more than a single task at any given instance and can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on the nature of the two tasks at play. For instance, there are two kinds of tasks, one that requires our attention like consuming information and others that don’t like running. What I have found is that multitasking can be a boon if a task that requires attention is clubbed with a task that doesn’t. For example: Listening to a podcast while running where listening to a podcast requires attention while moving your legs for running does not. On the other hand, it can also be a curse and a recipe for a lot of anxiety and stress if we combine two tasks that do require our attention since biologically our brains are not naturally geared for that. Perhaps we can expand this topic in another blog post.
  • Calendaring/scheduling = Effective Time Management: I myself have fallen prey to this and cannot stress enough how inaccurate this statement can be. While calendaring or scheduling can definitely help in managing one’s time, it does not necessarily guarantee the stress free effectiveness we would all like to hope for. Calendaring or scheduling your day without learning how to prioritize can not just lead to anxiety and stress but also cause burnout. Here are some of the common traps of scheduling:
    • Over obsessing over colors and labels is a great way of killing inefficiency while feeling a sense of achievement.
    • Not building failure into your calendar by not scheduling a buffer for every task.
    • Bombarding the calendar with meetings and phone calls without questioning the objective or necessity of the meeting/call under consideration.

Now that we are aware of a few slippery slopes, here are some time hacks and strategies that I have picked along the way mostly through trial and error method of learning. A lot more errors indeed!

  • Setting an objective/goal for the day before embarking on any task however big or small: Planning and prioritising only works in relation to the goal at hand. Without a goal there is no way to know if the task at hand is important or not.
  • Rule of 3 combined with 80-20 rule: The 80-20 rule states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For example: 80% of you results come from 20% of your activities. Dividing these 20% activities in not more than 3 important tasks/projects can be a game changing strategy. Try it yourself!
    • Bonus Tip: Allocate 80% of your time to the 3 tasks/projects at hand and leave the remaining 20% as buffer for mundane have-to tasks like emails, calls etc.
  • Delete: The fastest way to get a task done is to NOT do it. Question the task at hand and keep a very high standard for the RoI (Return on Investment) on your time. This will help you in deciding which tasks are better avoided.
  • Get things DONE vs just DOING things: There is a big difference in doing things and getting things done. Just because you are doing things does not necessarily mean you are getting things done effectively. Aim to get things done instead of functioning as per a checklist.
  • Analyze, Reflect and Fine-tune: Analyze how you spend your time, reflect on your successes and failures and fine-tune your next week and REPEAT. It works like magic, trust me!

Are you good at time management? How do you optimize your time? Do you have any hacks that you swear by? Let me know in the comments section below. Looking forward to learning from each one of you.

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Comments (43)

    • Nirmayee

    • April 6, 2019 at 01:11 am

    Totally agree with you on planning and prioritizing tasks for the day.
    I too have a habit of checking my mails to start with and writing down tasks to be completed that day in an order of their priority. It works pretty well for me.

    Anyway, it is such an informative blog Mrinal!😍👍

      • Mrinal Naik

      • April 6, 2019 at 10:42 am

      I know right? Checking emails and answering calls at the start of my day turned out to be a disaster for me as well. I am currently trying to check emails twice a week and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is.

      Btw, thanks a lot for leaving a comment Nirmayee 😇

    1. I know right? Checking emails and answering messages at the start of my day did not work for me as well. I am now aiming to check emails only twice a week and it is very refreshing.

      Btw, thanks a lot for leaving a comment. Really appreciate it! 🙂

    • Victoria

    • April 6, 2019 at 11:42 am

    The first thing got into my mind as soon as I saw the post on insta is Multi-tasking. I can’t find a better way to get a clear thought on it. U just gave a simple solution. I’m a home Baker and I do so many things at a time which will put me in chaos. But the solution that u gave might help me in future. Would love to hear more from you.
    Much ❤to you

    1. I have struggled with the common notions of multi-tasking for the longest time as well! I am so glad you found value in this blog post. Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂

    • Isha

    • April 6, 2019 at 14:06 pm

    Wow I found this when I am juggling with the issue..!! There comes a time when we keep pushing ourselves but that is what not required..you are right we should instead take a step back and rejuvenate ourselves to be more efficient and effective. It really helps. Thanks for bringing clarity on this topic!

    1. Absolutely! Rejuvenation definitely helps 🙂

    • Urvi

    • April 6, 2019 at 14:18 pm

    This is such a thoughtful, informative and helpful article about time management. ♥️ Thank you for conveying your thoughts so beautifully and explaining everything in great detail. Lots of love 🤗

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words 🙂 Really appreciate it!

    • Tamanna bhanani

    • April 6, 2019 at 18:06 pm

    So helpful…aiming for effectiveness and efficiency not productivity… Is the best line for me which changed my perception

    1. Thank you Tamanna 🙂

    • Vishwa Doshi

    • April 6, 2019 at 21:54 pm

    Your blog is fantastic. It’s helpful on many levels. Looking forward to reading more blogs. The myths, majorly productivity part, was the highlight for me. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I am so glad you found it helpful. Thank you for the feedback 🙂

  1. Can you please write more such blogs ! I’m always trying to multitask, plan time ( basically filling loads of planners and following none) and always running out of time ! I feel like doing it all but procrastination takes the best of me. Your blog post really cleared out a lot of doubts! very well written indeed ✔️

    1. Thank you so much! Definitely looking forward to writing more blogs 🙂

    • Sufyan

    • April 7, 2019 at 01:39 am

    A refreshing take on time management. Loved reading!!!

    1. Thank you 🙂

    • Shalini

    • April 7, 2019 at 08:12 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. It was short, on point but learnt so much from it. Please do more blog posts on planning and time management.

    Much love.

    1. Thank you for the feedback and encouragement. Looking forward to writing more blogs 🙂

    • Meera

    • April 10, 2019 at 02:07 am

    Can you please write a separate blog on the section less efforts and more results.
    I belong to the second category of working more and generating less results.

    1. Thanks for your request. Will definitely integrate it in my future blogs 🙂

    • Rahul

    • April 12, 2019 at 23:14 pm

    Hey Mrinal, liked the multi-tasking point so much! Couldnt agree more with you on it!
    Also I have started using Rule of 3 with 80-20 formula already! 🙂

    1. Yayy! How’s it going? Would love to know more 🙂

    • Nandini

    • April 21, 2019 at 23:04 pm

    This was refreshing. I appreciated how you didn’t take a preachy, motivational tone but used biology and experience to talk about, or even suggest, a good way to manage time. I would’ve liked if some things were explained– like ROI– and if you gave more examples on what it means to set a goal for a day. This was a very human, realistic read and I’m glad I started my day with it!

    1. Thank you, Nandini! Appreciate it. I will definitely incorporate the points suggested by you in some of my future blog posts. In case you happen to try any of the above strategies, do let me know how that worked for you. Would love to know more 🙂

  2. Looks realy great! Thanks for the post.

      • Mrinal Naik

      • May 18, 2019 at 00:53 am

      Thank you so much 🙂

  3. This really answered my problem, thank you!

      • Mrinal Naik

      • May 18, 2019 at 00:53 am

      So glad to know that this helped 🙂

  4. Fantastic, beautiful weblog with great informational content. This is a really interesting and informative post.

      • Mrinal Naik

      • May 18, 2019 at 00:54 am

      Thank you so much. Really appreciate you leaving a word here.

  5. You could definitely see your expertise within the article you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.
    Always follow your heart.

      • Mrinal Naik

      • May 18, 2019 at 00:55 am

      Thank you for the kind words 🙂

  6. Nice post. I find out some thing more challenging on various blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to study content from other writers and use something from their site. I’d want to use some with the content on my blog whether you do not mind. Natually I’ll provide you with a link on your internet blog. Appreciate your sharing.

      • Mrinal Naik

      • May 18, 2019 at 00:55 am

      Please feel free to share 🙂

    • Sondra

    • May 21, 2019 at 02:28 am

    Thanks for the help!

    1. Glad I could help!!

  7. I’m still learning from you, while I’m trying to achieve my goals. I absolutely love reading everything that is written on your website.Keep the posts coming. I loved it!

    1. Thank you so much! Really appreciate you leaving a comment.

  8. Good publish, introducing this to my website today, cheers. >

    1. Thanks! 🙂

  9. This write-up is helpful. Thank you Mrinal!
    Can you please share which are the tools or apps you use for scheduling,
    budgeting etc.
    Looking forward to more such helpful write-ups from you.
    Cheers!

    1. Thanks Mithila! 🙂 I use google calendar for scheduling and google sheet for budgeting. Nothing fancy though.

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