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So how do you manage your time? – Article by Natasha James

Time Management
noun:
the ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work – “time management is the key to efficient working”

Time management is, in my opinion, one of the hardest struggles of day-to-day life! How you manage your time can affect your work, your personal life, hobbies/interests, and relationships with your family and friends. There are only so many hours in one day, in a week, in a year! And how we manage our time plays a real key part in our successes in all of the above.

Having recently embarked on a CMI development programme, I have been given some really useful advice on how to manage my time more effectively, and I wanted to share this with you. But, I am always open to new ideas and suggestions and I would love to hear about what works for you.

So a bit about me and my current status in life: I work, (and very hard!), I have a family/ friends, I have a partner, a social life, not many active hobbies (as I struggle with time!), and I’ve recently started a CMI Leadership & Development programme.

As a Recruitment Consultant my time is extremely precious. I have to juggle numerous vacancies, clients, candidates, expectations and all of this is extremely time pressured. As a person I have to juggle evenings, weekends, holidays, social events, and everything else in between that comes with life. All of this, and I then added in a CMI development programme which is very demanding on my time. I don’t have pets or children, so probably have more time than most! But, I still find myself looking for new ways to organise myself day to day, and to ensure everything fits.

My usual method to track my time is my outlook diary! It’s just great. I can set reminders, include colleagues, make notes, as once I have set them up, can pretty much get on with my day knowing that I should get a reminder when needed. But what about the unexpected ? Everyday something unexpected throws itself at me, perhaps a work project. As part of my leadership programme I’ve learnt a few tips on how to manage time effectively.

Set reminders! Your outlook tool does all the work for you, and keeps all those tasks in a time order so you don’t forget.

To do list! I use my paperback diary, but I’ve also learnt a new method during my recent CMI course. ‘Stephen Covey’s time management matrix’ is such a good tool to use. You can categorise your to do list into areas of importance and urgency. Its helps you to identify the urgent from the important (And vice versa!) and focus your time from there.
Whilst many of you will be familiar with this, it’s always good to take time to remind yourself of this, as we all fall into bad habits very easily.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-stephen-coveys-time-management-matrix-2015-12

Create a project plan! Power point/ Excel are just some of the tools available to use day to day within the office. Using these tools to create a plan or manage a project can really help to set realistic time goals.

Avoid distractions! It is all too easy to open an email as soon as it pops into your inbox. Unless it’s flagged as urgent, it probably isn’t, and doesn’t necessarily need your attention immediately. It’s easy to allow new emails to take your attention away from that all-important task you are engrossed in!

Take breaks! Its sounds more time consuming, but actually taking a break during your working day can help to keep your mind focused. Ploughing through it can cause burn out, which could just effect your levels of productivity, motivation, focus, and your performance.

I am doing my best to stick to the above, and it is really helping me. But I’d be really keen to hear your advice and tips on this!

I am always looking for ways to improve my time management skills. So if you have any useful tips/advice for me please comment below!

 

Natasha James
Senior Recruitment Consultant – North

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