Do you manage your time well – or do you often look at the clock and wonder the day has gone and your to-do list is still nowhere near finished?
We are all part of a time-poor culture when it comes to work so a key part of my recruitment training focuses on time management.
My training includes a range of techniques designed to instill new habits so that your time is well managed and you become more productive. By implementing some basics in terms of structure and planning – you will be surprised at how much time you could free up in an average working day.
This, the first of two articles, shares some of the key points of that training.
First things first, do a time audit!
This allows you to find out where your time is spent. You may believe that email management is just an hour a day, LinkedIn activity maybe another hour, and updating your CRM might be a third throughout the course of your working day. In reality, some tasks will be eating up much more time than that.
The easiest way to keep track of your time is to download an app like RescueTime, which is free, to track everything you do for a week, and then you can access a report to find out where your time is really spent!
Set a time limit for certain tasks
One way to manage your time better is to set a time limit for each task. For example, you’re following up on feedback for some interviews, so book a slot in your diary for it. Setting a time limit will encourage you to avoid getting distracted or procrastinating.
Sometimes a call with a client may take longer than planned – that’s OK – build in some buffers between your tasks so you can still finish off each one but it doesn’t eat into the time allocated for others during your day.
Plan tomorrow’s work today
One of the worst things that you can do is get into work without a plan for the day. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done, you can lose focus (if you even started your day with it) and end up being unproductive for a large chunk of your day.
That’s why you should always plan a day ahead – you could use one of these options;
- Before you leave work for the day: Take 15-minutes to organise priorities for the next day.
- First thing in the morning: When you get up make a note of the 3-4 most urgent and/or important tasks that need to be addressed that day and work on those as a priority or when you’re at your most productive during your day.
Your choice of course – as long as it is consistent and becomes a daily habit!
Make the most of a to-do list
A ‘To Do’ list for larger projects can be a game-changer in improving your time management. All your work goals and projects are made up of smaller tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve a goal or complete a project. If you create a to-do list for each one, listing all the measurable steps that need to be accomplished, this will motivate you as you are able to see what you have achieved, and what is still outstanding.
Make sure your to-do list is in order of priority – must-do’s first, then less time-sensitive tasks, and finally the ones that can roll over to another day without having any negative impact on you, your colleagues, clients, or candidates.
As in the previous tip – set a daily time to get that to-do list updated so you can immediately get productive when you start work.
Maximise use of your most productive time of day
In my experience, it’s much more productive to take care of your biggest or most-challenging tasks in the morning. There are a couple of reasons why this is such an effective time management trick. Firstly, most of us usually have more energy in the morning, so it makes sense to tackle them then. Secondly, you can then use that feeling of accomplishment to motivate you to keep productive through the rest of your day.
However, if you find your most productive time is later in the day – then make the most of that when planning your to-do list.
Can you delegate any work?
You may not currently be in a role where there is anyone obvious to delegate to – you may be just starting out in your recruitment career so most of your team members may hold a higher-level role than you. Actually, that is not a reason not to explore opportunities to delegate – it could be a trade-off – you work on something they don’t enjoy but you do and vice versa. Makes perfect sense as we are all more productive when we are working on tasks that we enjoy so everyone wins!
If there are opportunities to delegate but the training involved to do so puts you off – remember short-term pain, long-term gain. You free up some time and your team member gets the chance to learn and use new skills.
So, the first in my Time Management mini-series has covered a whole host of tips around freeing up time and becoming more productive during your working day.
If you are a recruiter or manage a recruitment team and think some Time Management training or coaching could help productivity, then please get in touch. I would be delighted to arrange a brief call to establish any support I could offer – email me at email@example.com.