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10 time management tips

Sue Kavanagh is human resources director at Carlson Wagonlit TravelSue Kavanagh, human resources director at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, shares her top time management tips to help you ensure your work life doesn’t run your whole life

  1. Write two things you need to achieve by the end of the day at the top of your ‘to do’ list. This will help you focus on your priorities and avoid distractions such as emails. Turn off the sound on your computer so you aren’t aware of incoming emails.
  2. Depending on your job, try to reserve an hour of each day that will be email-free, leaving time to concentrate on your priorities.
  3. Schedule time between meetings for follow-up work.
  4. When someone rushes in at 5pm with a last-minute request, ask if they really need it to be done today or whether you can prioritise it into the next day’s workload. It’s not always possible, but if you ask when it needs to be done, you might avoid having to stay late.
  5. Don’t be tempted to access your work emails when you’re on holiday. Put an ‘out of office’ message onto your email so people know who they can contact in emergencies.
  6. If you’re faced with a simple task that you can perform quickly and easily, do it and get it out of the way. Once that piece of paper is off your desk you don’t need to worry about it anymore.
  7. If you really feel you can’t cope, ask for help. You may be feeling swamped with your workload but does your manager know this? They may not realise just how much you are trying to cope with.
  8. Take a lunch break, even if it is just for a few minutes to get a breath of fresh air. This helps to refresh you and afterwards you will be ready to face the afternoon ahead.
  9. Put appointments in your diary to make sure you stick to your personal commitments. If you promised yourself that this year you’d get to the gym/dance class/music lessons, put it in the diary and work out in advance what time you will need to leave the office to get there on time.
  10. Commit to appointments with friends. There is nothing more frustrating for your social life than constantly cancelling at the last minute because you have to work late.

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