Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Hanna Snyder, Co-Founder at TimeNavi

Hanna Snyder is the co-founder and Head of Product at TimeNavi, a time management start-up used by more than 100,000 users.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Sure! I’m fairly new to the world of work. I graduated from my master’s in economics from Cambridge last year and since then have been working on TimeNavi – a family Start-up that helps people manage their time.

I am working on this with my husband, Joshua – we are both co-founders of TimeNavi. My role is Head of Product, and he is the CTO. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I get up around 7.30am. After that I have breakfast and then start work around 8.30am. I usually work at Impact Hub – a coworking space for social entrepreneurs.

Being part of a community is very important to me and Impact Hub is great at fostering that sense of community and mutual support. However, there are times when I feel like I need some alone deep focus time and then I choose to work from home.

I start my day by spending around 20 minutes reflecting on the tasks I have lined up for today and planning them into my day. Having a flexible plan increases how much I enjoy the day and helps me be productive. It gives me clear goals for my day and it keeps me focused.

Mornings are usually my “focus, dive into bigger tasks” time. I try to schedule meetings and smaller tasks in the afternoon. I really enjoy the time when I can sit down and dive into a project.

Every day around 3pm, I go for a half an hour walk and prayer. It’s a very special time for me and it really helps me to see the bigger picture and reflect on the why behind the everyday tasks.

I finish work at 5pm and spend time with family and friends. I get really into work challenges and sometimes I find it hard not to think about them in the evening, even though I’m not actively working. I think building some kind of end-of-work routine could help with that and I want to try to implement that habit.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, I am 100% remote and we, as a team, are completely flexible – I love it! There is something amazing about being able to develop a product from my lounge and it benefits someone on the other side of the world.

Given our work is fully flexible and remote, my husband and I decided to spend this year working from different parts of the world, staying 2-3 months at the time in different places. We spent last year working in Vienna. We got married in June and we’ve spent the first 2 months of our marriage in Kraków, Poland. Now we are staying in Lisbon, Portugal.

I can really see how much we have grown as individuals and as a married couple during our travels. I’m grateful for the fact that the nature of our work allows us to experience so many different cultures and ways of living and learning from them. We get to cherry pick the bits we like from each and take them with us on our travels. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Good question! For me it’s about having space to enjoy both my work and personal life. I find that without having time outside of work for rest and personal parts of my life it’s hard for me to be fully present in my work.

I love my work and sometimes my natural instinct is to work during the weekend. However, I’ve recognised that fully disconnecting from professional activities over the weekend has a positive impact on my creativity and enjoyment of work – it helps me to take a step back and look at things with a fresh perspective. And the same is true with rest – it’s easy to get restless in life if we don’t have work to help us appreciate the nature of rest.

In practice, I noticed simple time management techniques can really help with achieving that balance between work and life. For me, it’s about planning my day and creating START and END events in my calendar to mark when I want to start and finish my work each day.

It takes almost no time, but the effects of being conscious about when I want to begin and end my work are life changing. It’s my passion to help people implement time management techniques that help them align their priorities and their time together and I’m grateful to be able to do that through TimeNavi.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes, putting buffer time between events in my daily plan! There was a time last year that I noticed I was rushing my tasks rather than enjoying them.

This made me not only less efficient (I was trying to get things done quickly rather than well), but also made me more stressed. I decided to change the way I plan my day to always include a buffer of around 0.5h between the different events and tasks I plan for the day. That simple planning habit had a really big impact on how relaxed I feel at work and made me enjoy what I do much more.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

One of my favourite books is How to Win Friends and Influence People. The title sounds terrible and I was very hesitant about reading it as it seemed like a book about manipulation.

However, the content of the book completely changed the way I interact with people. It helped me to understand that everyone has a gem, hidden or obvious, within them and each conversation is an opportunity to uncover a little bit of that gem within.

7) Are there any products, gadgets, or apps that you can’t live without?

Google Calendar would be up there! It helps me to structure my week and day and prevent the awful “I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them” feeling. And maybe I’m biased, because I helped create it, but I love using TimeNavi alongside Google Calendar to understand how I spend my time and set goals for myself (including work-life balance!). 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Hmm, I would be really interested to read about the work-life balance of one of the people considered saints – like Mother Theresa.

Given her work was a vocation I wonder how she perceived the boundaries between work and life. We often hear about the great deeds of those people, but I’m sure there are fascinating daily routines and habits without which those deeds would not happen.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Yes, some people think work-life balance is impossible, but everyone can achieve it! It may come at the cost of something else, but it’s certainly possible!

I noticed a lot of people say “If only my job was different” or “If only I lived in a different place I could spend more time with family and friends, but unfortunately I’m so busy and I can’t do anything about it.” or “It’s great for you that you can find balance between work and life, but I will never be that person.”. That’s simply not true, in almost all cases!

It’s a matter of our priorities and developing the skills and systems to manage our time, not the amount of time we have. It’s been an amazing journey helping people through TimeNavi and seeing how they discover ways to connect their time to their priorities and lead a much more fulfilling life.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.