Got Time?

It seems there is never enough time in the day, especially in recruitment. We all get the same 24 hours, but why is it some people achieve so much more with their time?

Time management refers to the way you organise your time and how long you spend on certain activities. It improves your ability to function more effectively and is a skill I continue to improve every day.

Studies have found you can lose as much as two hours each day by not managing your time – think about how much more you could achieve if you had two extra hours each day.

Here are some techniques and best practices to help you manage your day more effectively:

To-Do:

  1. Get organised in the first 15 minutes of your day by planning what you need to do.
  2. Don’t start your day until you complete your plan – this is the most important thing you will do all day.
  3. Break large projects down into small steps to avoid overlooking small but crucial stages.
  4. Prioritise – some people use letters or numbers to code in order of importance. This will give you a clear picture of what tasks you need to complete first and what you can afford to complete last or at a later date.

Prioritise:

When you are overwhelmed with a long list of what all seem to be urgent tasks, it is invaluable to be able to prioritise effectively and make the most commercial decisions.

priority matrix

This Priority Matrix is an effective tool which will help to prioritise activities and make the most of your day.

Using the Matrix allows you to choose activities intelligently so that you can spend more of your time on high-value activities and drop those that contribute little.

Avoid distractions:

Minimising office distractions is crucial if you want to gain control of your day and increase your productivity. Emails, phone calls, LinkedIn…all of these distractions prevent us from achieving efficient work flow. Turn off email notifications, let people know if they are distracting you too much and avoid the internet while working towards an important deadline.

Take a break:

When you are working to tight deadlines it is nice to think you can work for 8 to 10 hours straight, but it isn’t realistic. It is impossible to focus for that long and produce high-quality work without having time to rest your brain.

Breaks provide opportunities for your brain to recharge and enable you to work more effectively. If you find it difficult to take breaks, schedule time in your diary where you go for a quick walk, grab a drink or have your lunch.

Make sure you take a break and switch off at the weekend, in the evenings and when you go away on holiday to help you stay productive and motivated in the long term. If you are frequently staying late, you need to ask yourself, ‘am I managing my time effectively’?

Take note:

Your notebook is where all of your thoughts, conversations and ideas can be found – take notes when you’re talking with colleagues, brainstorming or on the phone. If you’re busy working and remember something important, write it down.

It is also helpful to write the date on each page so that you can easily go back and find the information you need, and if the notes are relating to a particular person or project, write this at the top.

Schedule time:

  • Use Outlook or an electronic calendar to organise your time – it will prompt you with a reminder before you are due to change tasks.
  • Colour-code activities in order of urgency to help you clearly see your priorities.
  • Schedule small tasks such as ‘read notes before pitch presentation’ and time for interruptions such as answering emails and returning voicemails.
  • Remember your peak time – we all have a time of day when we are most productive, so ensure you schedule your high-priority work during this period.

Work smarter, not harder:

Identify anything that causes a regular and repeated drain on your time and energy. Who or what drains your time? How can this be addressed? Value your time and others will do the same, and you will be surprised just how much more you will complete in just 24 hours.

Shaunagh Durkin, Senior Consultant, Shopping Centre & Venue Management, Foundation Recruitment

Shaunagh Durkin 013 N355

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