Students Staff
University of Essex

July 2, 2015

How did it get so late so soon?

No matter where we work, who we work with or which grade we’re on, we all have 168 hours in any week. the-eleventh-hour-clock

We all lead busy lives and sometimes it feels like gremlins take away our precious time leaving us with seemingly less and less time.

Here are some of my top tips that I use to manage my time. Could some of these work for you?

Work out your goals – What are your main priorities?  What do you want to achieve today, this week, this month, this year?  Write yourself a list on a post-it or on a whiteboard.  You can then use this list to write your short term action plan.

Work out what is urgent and what is important – ‘urgent’ tasks demand your attention immediately (e.g. telephone is ringing), however whether you actually give them the attention may or may not matter. ‘Important’ tasks matter, and not doing them may have serious consequences for you or others. This distinction between urgent and important tasks is key to prioritising your time.

Outlook – Are you a slave to your email? Turn it off and allocate some specific ‘email’ time every day. Use your Outlook calendar to schedule your meetings and any planning time that you need in order to prepare for your meetings.  Why not block out time for your project work or research time, so others know you are busy and to keep you focused.  And don’t forget to block out time for a lunch break!

Know yourself – Know when your ‘prime energy’ time is and use that time to tackle those important tasks or time consuming jobs.

Declutter your mind – It’s really useful to every now and then write down everything that you are trying to remember.  Writing down everything that is sitting in your headspace can be very therapeutic, so declutter by mind-mapping your thoughts or simply take time to stop and reflect. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes.

Learn how to say ‘no’ – Don’t agree to everything that people ask you to do, think realistically about your workload and decide if you can take on more work.  If necessary discuss with your line manager and work with them to prioritise your work. Have you tried a process of reviewing what you can stop doing, start doing and keep doing?

What works for you? Leave a comment below to share with other readers.

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2 responses to “How did it get so late so soon?”

  1. […] have offered time management advice. Are you planning your time effectively and booking in your annual […]

  2. […] These results may not reflect your experience so we encourage you to review your personal yearly calendar of work, identify the peaks and troughs and consider whether can you move any tasks into your quieter periods. Try to plan your schedule of work as much as possible, plan when you will take leave and make sure you take your leave. Did you read our time management advice? […]

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