Transactional Time Management
This post will take you three minutes to read, and will save you at least five minutes in the next two weeks. If it doesn’t, get my email address, write up a couple paragraphs stating the nature of your problem, include a brief description of your career goals, and I’ll write a personalized apology to you. As an MBA student, to say time is precious would be an understatement. Spare time is nonexistent, and even that’s a liberal estimate. Given that time is short enough to hang-glide on a Dorito, it’s important to keep a healthy attitude towards prioritization. Enter transactional time management.
Thinking about your efforts in terms of a simple cost-benefit analysis based on time isn’t enough anymore. Time put in to a project does not necessarily equal final value. If it were that simple, the Zohan movie wouldn’t have grossed more to date than a movie with actual jokes in it.
Instead of fixating on the sheer time put into a project, it’s far more effective to evaluate your efforts according to one of the triple constraint frameworks. Triple constraints are three qualities that can never be achieved simultaneously. For example, out of low cost, high quality, and short turnaround time, the maximum you can have is two.
In the business school experience, the triple constraint can help you honestly evaluate your expectations and prioritize your efforts accordingly. Ask yourself if the project:
- Demands little time to complete (low cost)?
- Requires great presentation (high quality)?
- Depends on finishing it quickly (turnaround time)?
For example, if Zohan had to read 300 pages and write up a report by noon tomorrow, he would have to decide whether to spend less time reading the book, compromise his goals for the report’s quality, or beg the professor for an extension in a hilarious squeaky voice.
As an MBA student, you are given the goal of delivering all three triple constraints simultaneously. It’s up to you to prioritize your time accordingly.