How Asynchronous Tools Are Changing the Game Through Technology

Almost everyone has experienced the feeling of not having enough time. It is often seen as being as valuable, if not more so, than money. Unfortunately, it is one of the few things in life that cannot be increased, regardless of one’s level of influence or power.

In today’s interconnected world, where work and home-life often overlap and many of us have colleagues in different time zones, it can be difficult to find the time to complete all our tasks.

As the heads of IT companies, it is not unusual for us to frequently transition between virtual meetings in order to collaborate with our international staff and partners. Despite our attempts to prioritize certain tasks and people, video conferences, emails and messages can often disrupt what could have been a productive day.

It can be argued that technology is largely responsible for the continuous interruptions we experience. There is some truth to the notion that we can be reached through various digital platforms at any time and from any location. However, technology and certain clever strategies can assist us in managing our limited time more effectively.

A Tribute to TiVo

For those of a certain age, TiVo and VCRs will likely be familiar. These technologies allowed people to do something that had never been done before, making them significant cultural milestones in their own right.

In the past, before the introduction of digital media, viewers would have to ensure they were available at the designated broadcast time if they wanted to view a program. It was difficult for my children to comprehend that, in the past, programs were not always available on demand, and it was not possible to pause and rewind like it is today.

TiVo and VCRs offered viewers the flexibility to watch shows at their own convenience, a feature that was highly attractive. However, with our workdays now heavily scheduled with pre-arranged meetings, it is easy to feel as though we are living in the 1950s, with our “programming” already predetermined.

By following a two-step process, you can utilize time-shifting technology to manage your current meetings. Firstly, just as you would not allow an employee unrestricted access to the company’s financial resources, you should not give anyone unrestricted access to your time.

If you receive a meeting request and it is not essential, it is recommended that you contact the person who made the request by telephone. They will not expect a quick response from someone they know personally. You may ascertain that your presence is not required for the meeting to progress, or that a short conversation could suffice instead of a lengthy meeting.

As a second step, it is recommended to use the recording features available on the most popular video conferencing software for any sessions deemed to be of low value or purely informative. To save time, attendees or the presenter can provide a summary of the key points, or the recording can be viewed at a later time. Additionally, the tape can be rewound and watched at a faster speed to compress the content into a shorter duration.

Learn How to Work Effectively in an Asynchronous Environment

It is abundantly clear that there are an excessive amount of tasks in the workplace that require multiple employees to be present simultaneously. In comparison, working asynchronously allows for a more flexible approach, enabling employees to complete tasks at their own pace and with the desired number of personnel.

Candidates with experience of working in an asynchronous setting, such as Node.js, will be familiar with the advantages (and drawbacks) of this type of coding. Asynchronous work requires additional organization in order to prevent any coordination issues that may arise due to conflicting schedules.

The majority of successful managers utilize asynchronous techniques. This involves assigning tasks to team members, resolving any potential issues which may arise if tasks haven’t been fulfilled, and initiating subsequent activities once the original assignment has been concluded. If you can master this ability, you won’t feel like a pinball, constantly being tossed between forces outside of your control, but rather like the organizer of your own day.

Ensuring that team members are engaged with one another should be focused on providing them with the right knowledge, resources, and data in order to complete their assigned tasks. Spend 10-15 minutes with colleagues discussing the required actions for each individual as well as any interdependencies that may arise. Avoid lengthy meetings and ‘stand-ups’ which can drift away from the task at hand.

Team members should be encouraged to take ownership of their roles and should be given the autonomy to carry out their duties. For quick queries, they can contact you via chat; for more in-depth conversations, they can email you; and for more urgent matters, they can call you. It is essential to bear in mind that a meeting should not be considered as an option for these purposes.

In order to maintain productivity within your team, it is recommended that you regularly check email and chat tools every one or two hours to address any queries or issues. These short intervals of communication should be carried out in accordance with your own schedule, preferably using non-instantaneous technologies, in order to give your colleagues, the autonomy to work in an asynchronous manner.

It may seem challenging to implement, however the potential long-term rewards far exceed the investment necessary. This is comparable to learning a new programming language or operating system. If you are able to make this change, the technology that has been dominating our time will be returned to our control, allowing you to be in charge of your own schedule.

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