How to be the king or queen of time management

Modern life is full of pressure, and there are never enough hours in the day. But with our tips, you’ll rule time, rather than letting it rule you.

By Evie Prosser

Show me a person who doesn’t feel as if they’re chronically short of time and I’ll show you, well, most probably a child. Because if there’s one thing that characterises life as a grown-up, it’s the feeling of being permanently on the go, with nary a moment to pause for breath.

That doesn’t make for a happy existence. If you’re constantly fretting about all the things you’ve yet to get done, you’re unlikely ever to feel relaxed, or stop and enjoy a moment of calm.

But life needn’t be like that. We’ve assembled a list of tips to help you manage your time more effectively. Follow them, and you’ll be the master or mistress of your destiny.

1. Plan, then plan again

The US business guru Dan S. Kennedy says that it makes sense to do as much forward planning as possible. He advocates blocking time in your diary so that important tasks don’t get bumped down the priority list by other people’s concerns.  

Meticulous planning certainly helps Just Recruitment Manager Victoria Griffiths to juggle her busy professional and home life with her enthusiasm for equestrian sports. “I always have a plan,” she reports, “and I make sure everyone around me is aware of it. It’s the only way to get everything done.”

2. Prioritise

Everyone knows the merits of making lists. Search any website for time management advice and you’ll see that jotting down your priorities is one of the most popular tips provided.

Indeed, productivity expert David Allen has formulated an entire philosophy on list-making, in the form of his Getting Things Done® methodology. His approach is rather more sophisticated than simply writing out your priorities, but that’s definitely his starting point.

Get down on paper what you need to do, preferably in order of importance. That will make it much easier to complete each task in an orderly manner, without being distracted.

3. Make time to waste time

It may sound ridiculous, but sometimes you need to waste time to get things done. This isn’t about realising the benefits of boredom, as profound as they are. Instead, it’s about deliberately pausing to take breath before rushing headlong into the next task.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was a strong advocate of the value of wasted time, especially when you’re busy. More recently, Marxist scholar Andy Merrifield has written a wonderful book about the merits of not rushing, entitled The Wisdom of Donkeys.

The crucial thing is to give yourself space to reflect, even when you’re snowed under. You’ll find that you work more quickly and efficiently that way, thereby enhancing rather than diminishing productivity.

4. Shake a leg

While wasting time undoubtedly has its place, you need to recognise when to get busy and put in extra hours to ensure everything is done. Consider the example of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who famously slept for just four hours each night in order to keep up with her workload.

Joanna Coles, the British boss of media company Hearst in New York, is another example of someone who knows how to squeeze as much as possible into her busiest times. When a reporter from The Times interviewed her recently, they discovered that she walks on a treadmill while dealing with work emails and phone calls, and watches TV at double speed!

Dan S. Kennedy makes a similar point in an article on time management. He suggests taking a book everywhere you go, so that spare moments can be filled with a worthwhile activity, rather than being frittered away.

5. Keep motivated

You may well be familiar with Parkinson’s Law – the principle that work expands to fill the time available. If you are, you’ll probably see the merit of motivation in helping you make the very best use of your day.

“I thrive on pressure,” says Victoria Griffiths. “Having a clear sense of purpose saves me from getting distracted, and means I work efficiently. I think one of the reasons people feel as if they don’t have enough time is because it’s so easy to waste precious minutes, looking at Facebook, say, or simply being idle. If you can keep yourself busy and motivated, you’ll probably feel like you have more time, not less.”

6. Call in help

“No [person] is an island,” said the poet John Donne, and he must have known a thing or two about being busy. As well as being a literary great, he was an MP, priest, lawyer and Dean of St Paul’s cathedral.

While Donne’s words were not intended as a dictum about time management, he was definitely onto something. If you’re short of time, don’t be afraid to outsource some of the tasks you’re faced with.

“It may not always be possible to do this in a work context,” explains Ms. Griffiths. “But if you’re really busy, even something simple like employing a gardener or cleaner for a couple of hours each week can make a world of difference. It’s not just about freeing your time, but also not feeling guilty about tasks you simply don’t have the capacity to complete.”

Published: 2 July 2019

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

If you liked this article you may like to read – Five success boosting habits to adopt today

You may also like to read – Five goals to achieve within your first year at a new job

Jobs currently available

New job
Electrical Wireman
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910175
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Electrical Wire person on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex.

The role will involve mechanical and electrical assembly, wire and electrically test distribution and MCCB boards, cabinets and cable harnesses. The role also has the potential for new product development by building prototype boards and testing boards before product launch.

Duties:

  • Build and test distribution and MCCB panels to the standards specified by the latest electrical regulations: BS EN 61439 and BS7671 including energy metering and surge suppression devices.
  • Read, understand and work from technical electrical CAD drawings and wiring diagrams.
  • To pick and check all component quantity and quality before each job.
  • To build and assemble wiring loom kits using a variety of cable crimp hand tools.
  • Electrical testing, fault finding and resolution.
  • Production of Test Certificates.
  • To work using own initiative with limited supervision.
  • Maintain manufacturing records including: copy test certification, wiring diagrams, layout drawings and production sheets.

Requirements:

  • Previous strong experience in Low Voltage panel building environment.
  • Knowledge of metering requirements and installation.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Flash Testing Certified.
Read more
Graphic Designer
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910168
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Graphic Designer on behalf of a company based in Colchester, Essex.

They are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Graphic Designer to join their team.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Duties will include:

  • Designing and producing marketing material for nine businesses across the UK
  • Each business has their own distinct brand identity, so you must be willing to adapt as the situation demands
  • Manage the production of their 300 page brochure
  • Design other promotional material; for example posters and flyers; for use in their sites
  • Liaising with 3rd parties to design and produce physical promotional materials
  • Negotiating prices
  • Experience with website design is preferable
  • Experience with running business social media accounts also preferable

Experience in a similar role or relevant qualification is a must for this opportunity

  • Relevant extensive experience in design programs - for example, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver - is required
Read more
Designer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: discussed on application
Location: Chelmsford, South Woodham Ferrers
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910167
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based near South Woodham Ferrers.

This is a fantastic opportunity if you have a Product Design background and can offer Retail or POS Design experience.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Create new products, including 3D designs, prototyping and testing
  • Execute robust design process and continuous improvement
  • Take client brief either from Account Manager or Client
  • Time management and planning workload with Head of Design
  • A ‘can do’ attitude

Qualifications:

  • Excellent level of knowledge using SolidWorks
  • Good level of knowledge using Adobe Suite
  • Experience with the POS sector would be advantageous
  • Product Design degree would be preferred
  • Good problems solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good Word & Excel skills
Read more
Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: £16,500 - £17,000 per annum
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910164
About the role

Just Recruitment is working with one of Suffolk’s most promising mortgage companies. Established in 2014, this company is looking to take on a skilled Administrator to support its rapid expansion.

Your duties will include:

  • Supporting the mortgage brokers in their day-to-day activities
  • Electronic Filing and record-keeping
  • Checking and submitting mortgage applications
  • Progressing cases
  • Speaking to members of the public, both in-person and over the phone

Ideally, you will:

  • Have experience in an administrative role
  • Possess an excellent telephone manner
  • Be diligent and detail-oriented
  • Be highly computer literate, including familiarity with Microsoft Packages
  • Have a great sense of humour

Working hours:

35 per week – Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, with an hour off for lunch

Read more
Warehouse Operator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: To be discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910163
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Warehouse Operative on behalf of a company based in Sudbury Suffolk.

Your daily duties will include:

  • Ensuring that the warehouse is kept tidy and organised
  • Unloading and checking of deliveries in
  • Checking in goods
  • Putting away products within the warehouse
  • Picking products as per customer orders
  • Checking orders, ensuring accuracy
  • Packing orders to ensure safety in delivery
  • Loading deliveries
  • On occasions take responsibility for the locking up procedure for the Warehouse/Site

Working hours:

Split shifts: 6.00am – 2.30pm / 2.00pm – 10.30pm

You will have the following skills and experience:

  • Suitable applicants will ideally have current Forklift licences for Counterbalance, Pallet Truck and Flexi
  • Good level of Numeracy and Literacy
  • Intermediate PC skills
  • Preferred NVQ Level 2 Warehousing or equivalent
  • Prior knowledge of Warehouse Management Systems
Read more