In this edition of Calendar Heroes, we talk to Vishwesh Jirgale, VP of Engineering at Mindtickle and Angel investor, to learn about his style, tools, and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the engineering organization responsible for User Facing Applications and Practices for the popular sales readiness platform. Follow Vishwesh on LinkedIn, Peerlist, and on Twitter at @vishweshji.
Calendar Heroes are real stories from very busy professionals across all types of roles and industries to learn more about how they manage to make time where there is none. We’re highlighting these stories to help share tips and ideas for working effectively, improving your time management skills, and boosting your productivity.
If you know a Calendar Hero who has awesome productivity hacks that you’d like to recommend we interview or want to be interviewed yourself, let us know! You don’t have to be a Reclaim user to be featured as a Calendar Hero: these stories are about anyone with an interesting approach to managing a complex schedule.
I have been living inside the calendar for the past few years. So much so that my daily routines like exercise, eating (at home or out), reading, Pomodoro (focused working hours), personal appointments, our family medical appointments, vaccination schedules, etc. is in a calendar. What I’ve seen is that my professional and personal life has a lot of crossover, and that’s where Reclaim.ai has helped me merge my personal, family, and professional calendars to get more control over my time and make it more visible to the people around me.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
I am currently working as a VP of Engineering at Mindtickle, managing multiple engineering teams and horizontal practices. I’m also an active Angel investor and advisor to a few startups, and have been helping startups in the US expand in India by making their first hire, setting up processes, doing audits, due diligence, etc. Apart from this, I also coach and mentor a few new leaders and engineers who are transitioning into leadership roles. I’m also a student for life, so I'm always learning something new. Currently, I’m learning audience-building and technical strategy through Reforge’s cohort-based learning environments online. So in short, I have a pretty busy work week, as well as a few hours booked over the weekend.
What does a typical workweek look like for you?
My typical workweek is full of meetings with my teams, peers, product teams, leadership, etc. As a leader, I typically work in “interrupt mode” for my teams, where they have open access to my time to discuss anything that may be blocking them. This means I need to have flexible hours for my personal stuff so that my team gets first priority on scheduling my time. Reclaim has enabled me to have flexible personal time for lunch, Pomodoro, reading, etc., which my team can always override, and Reclaim just automatically adjusts my calendar.
What techniques do you use to manage your time?
As mentioned earlier, I started putting everything in the calendar and reserving desired time slots for everything. Things that are time-sensitive have non-flexible hours, and others are flexible Habit hours.
What tools do you use to make you more productive?
I have been living inside Slack for my work, learning, and investment world. So Slack is my go-to tool for everything. Of late, I’ve also started using Discord for a few cohorts, but I have scheduled time to check Discord (and kept everything in it on mute).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I start my week on Sunday, and plan ahead. That’s the best habit I got into as of late, and it’s been proving very productive.
Reclaim also told me in one of my calendar productivity reports that I need to start declining a few meetings as I’m losing a lot of my Pomodoro time, not having lunch on time, etc. So, I started declining meetings that were not well-planned, un-important, where I would be underprepared, or meetings with no agenda. Believe me, it has also improved my team’s habit of setting meaningful meetings.
Another great habit is scheduling decompression time after back-to-back meetings. That has helped me slow down, correct my notes, and prepare well for the rest of the day.
My calendar is always shared with everyone around me so they can find the right slot to schedule, and now they know which ones are flexible, and which ones are not. This enables me to operate in interrupt mode, without getting interrupted for unimportant things.