M: Here’s a question for both of us, DJ. “You both are involved in a lot of causes. How do you manage your time?” Personally, I learned it is not good to multi-task because it can be more stressful trying to juggle everything. Instead, I prioritize, arrange my schedule and delegate tasks. How do you manage your schedules?
DJ: Through time I developed full appreciation of the Pareto Principle or the 80-20 rule. It says that 80 percent of the result comes from 20 percent of the input. Thus before prioritizing, I decide which 20 percent will make it to my calendar. I look like I am engaged in a lot of activities but I really don’t attend every invitation. There’s actually a common theme on everything I do. They’re very close to who I am. Of course, there’s faith, family, career, a few real friends, school work, social responsibilities and me time. Given my limited waking hours, I’m discerning about what and who I engage myself with, whether it really matters to who I am becoming. Once I figure that out, that’s when I prioritize.
M: Working from home for the past year and rarely going out, it has made me more tired rather than relaxed. While there is no traffic and no need to spend so much time on what to wear or prepping to go out, I learned that there are never-ending tasks to do at home. Apart from office work now done at home, there is housework. With no house help for the past year, I do everything (save for major cooking which is done by the hubby). There are just so many things to do but if you divide your time, you can do quite a lot even within the confines of your house.
DJ: We can be busy with a lot of non-essential stuff, often at the expense of those that matter. I guess how I view my schedule is also one of the reasons why I’ve remained unmarried. I only have eight hours in a day. And since I’ve got so accustomed and generally happy about my choices, adding something in such a dating relationship means taking something out. And so far, there’s no one yet who weighs more than what I’m currently relishing. I don’t see it as being selfish. I see it more as being practical. Besides, the more I am fulfilled at what I am doing, the more I am also inspired to help others find their own happiness. I think it’s part of ageing. We already have an idea on what works, what we want and what we do not need.
M: I learned to entrust things to other people but still review their work. My staff send their reports through email, Messenger and text, and I rely on technology to communicate and get things done in the various organizations I belong to. I trained my two older kids to do housework. I try not to sweat the small stuff. I ask for help when I know I cannot do it or don’t know how to do it and I do not accept when my schedule is full. I am tired but I am grateful for the opportunity to work, to serve and to be able to challenge myself. When you love what you are doing, it isn’t a burden but a blessing.
DJ: Ultimately, I begin with the end in mind. What’s the goal? What’s the vision? Everything just follows. This is quite fuzzy when we’re young. Clarity comes with processing of thoughts and experience. That’s why some people associate it with age. Managing time is baffling when we’re blurry about what we want to do with our life. We end up doing stuff just because other people do them. But when we’re self-assured about our goals and objectives, we get to choose what activities to commit to even when they require a lot or forego no matter how attractive they seem. Everything we do is aligned. We just don’t do things right. We’re also doing the right things, which to me is fundamental. This explains why when friends ask how to better manage time, I respond to them also with a question — “what exactly is it that you want to achieve?”