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“There´s no longer a clear distinction between work and leisure time”

Interview with Rashelle Isip, professional organizer and productivity consultant

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European Business: Time is a gift. How have technology and work influenced the value of leisure time in today’s world?

Rashelle Isip: I think leisure time is more valuable than ever before. Thanks to digital devices, we have instant access to movies, books, videos, shows, games, texts, phone calls, and email. We can entertain ourselves at any hour of the day and work from any location on the planet. And I think this is exactly where the problem lies. There’s no longer a clear distinction between work and leisure time. Nowadays, we truly have to pay attention to how we spend our time and set clear work and leisure boundaries for ourselves.

European Business: From your experience as a coach, what are the top time wasters in our lives today?

Rashelle Isip: Generally speaking, I think two of the top time wasters in our lives today are social media and email. While these tools help us communicate with others and do our work, there’s a tendency to misuse or overly use them. And of course, the ability to access social media and email on mobile devices doesn’t help the situation. We can become easily distracted by what’s new or novel, at the expense of working on our professional or personal goals.

Rashelle Isip
"Nowadays, we truly have to pay attention to how we spend our time and set clear work and leisure boundaries for ourselves." Rashelle Isip

European Business: Do you think time management is more difficult for managers or employees?

Rashelle Isip: It’s difficult to say whether time management is more difficult for managers or employees. Each role has its own responsibilities, expectations, and challenges. I think the one thing that’s constant for both roles is the ability to think critically about the bigger picture. Yes, one has to be aware of what one is doing at the present moment, but there also has to be some consideration for how that action directly relates to the future, be it an hour or a week from now.

European Business: In your book, you write that rest and relaxation are important parts of one’s schedule. What’s your best tip to make sure people integrate this into their schedules?

Rashelle Isip: Schedule your yearly vacation time and holidays, as well as daily, weekly, and monthly personal time directly into your calendar. No one else is going to prioritize rest and relaxation in your calendar, so you have to make a dedicated effort to do so yourself.

"Two of the top time wasters in our lives today are social media and email." Rashelle Isip
Rashelle Isip

European Business: You write that working with a timekeeper to track time during a meeting is a good idea. Which skills or habits does a timekeeper need?

Rashelle Isip: Meeting timekeepers should be trustworthy, attentive, and of course, punctual. They should also be willing to work hand-in-hand with the meeting organizer so they can better understand their role and how to effectively assist the organizer during the meeting.

European Business: What is your daily time management routine?

Rashelle Isip: I review my schedule in the morning and take stock of the tasks I want to accomplish for the day. I make a point to eliminate distractions while I work, such as logging out of email, social media, and other non-essential applications. I also constantly evaluate my progress during the day, which I think is key when it comes to managing one’s time.

Interview: Vera Gaidies | Photos: Rashelle Isip

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