Welcome to yet another day at Excelling in your career Inc. Please put your social life on ‘’silent’’ and turn off any devices that might emphasize that you have one, and place them aside. Before you get seated, you may leave your egos in the cloakroom if you wish, along with your preconceived expectations of what your workday will be like, that you probably picked up during your binge-watch fest of The Wolf of Wallstreet, The Office, Friends or (if you are one of those people) a rom-com most likely starring Mila Kunis who happens to have it all figured out and manages to look cute every morning when going to work.
What you will experience in the following 8 hours are series of accomplishments, multitasking, hard work, negotiation, creativity flows and long(er) lunch breaks followed by cigarette breaks, your dreams and goals. The side effects of these sorts of actions might include: sleep deprivation, anxiety and moodiness. But luckily there is a way of avoiding them and it’s all got to do with a bit of smart time management.
As a recruiter, oftentimes I have to work on a multitude of different roles of the same priority and try to find the perfect match for each one parallelly. Producing creative work and delivering the required result often means juggling an endless list of deadlines. But don’t think of them as a curse, in fact, I like to think that a bit of variety keeps things fresh, if you know how to outsmart them.
GET AN EARLY START
Try starting your working day an hour earlier. I know it hurts because we all need around 8 hours of sleep so this might be a little painful at first, but as the saying goes: the early bird gets the worm! The benefits of an early start include an hour all to yourself without anyone disturbing you at work, especially if you have different managers or clients to report to. If you get an early start you can prioritize your work tasks and be ready to start when the clock strikes 9!
P.S We all know ‘’ 5 more minutes’’ can be a dangerous game to play, so avoid snoozing your alarm and get up!
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
As good as it sounds, multitasking can sometimes be overrated. When you are switching from one task to another and have multiple projects going on, it can be distracting to channel your best solutions for each one. So instead of fracturing your time and hopping from task to task, do each task at a given slot of time that you assign yourself as you prioritize your list of deadlines.
TO KNOW YOUR ENEMY, YOU MUST BECOME YOUR ENEMY
The villain in every millennial work fairytale is time. We are either running out of it or using it unproductively. What is your peak time? When do you need more time? When is your lunchtime? At what time do you need to send out those emails? It is all about time. So, to use it in your favour you need to learn how to compartmentalize. Identify at what time of the day you feel most productive and use that peak time as your power hour where you tackle your most difficult tasks. Delegate email, social media and admin time to specific hours of the day to avoid them becoming distractions and disrupting the creative flow you are immersed in. Working non-stop doesn’t necessarily equate to getting things done, sometimes it leads to exhaustion. So, aim to have blocks of work activity related time when you are ‘’in the zone’’ followed by short breaks. When taking your lunch break try to focus on enjoying it with your coworkers or out the office and come back to your workstation ready to take on more challenges.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
In the early days of my intro to recruitment and headhunting, I often wondered whether it is better to deliver 10 good candidates for a job position and save more time or 3 perfect candidates which I’d have to spend weeks looking for the perfect candidate. And I am still figuring this one out. I’ve come to realize that sometimes perfectionism is the enemy of progress so I have managed to fight the urge to endlessly trying to redo reports and find the perfect CV at the expense of actually providing the client with a finished project or a new employee. Sometimes working with what you have and making the best of it is an art of its own. Learn to differentiate when to draw the line and put your work on display.
And remember, trust your instincts, they are always right. So, take time to regroup and reflect on the work you have done to see whether it reflects your values and character and whether it is taking you to the place you want to be at.
I’ll race you to the top!