Why Time Management is a Skill You Should Perfect Before You Get that Graduate Job

By Jessica Fernandez

If you’re applying for a job and are lucky enough to secure an interview, you can be sure that the employer will ask:

“How do you manage your time effectively and how do you handle a busy workload?”

You sit there, wearing your new suit that you bought just for the interview, and think to yourself “YES! I know this one!”

You then confidently tell the employer how great you are at time management, how you’re naturally an organised person, and casually drop some organisation tips you memorised off the internet the night before.

Cut to:  you’re a few weeks into your new dream graduate job. Your desk is covered in papers people keep leaving for you, folders are piled everywhere and you’re frantically working to get through all the tasks that you need to get done. Chances are you’ve forgotten a last minute job that was given to you, but you’ll think about that one later, right?

The stress is enough to make you think about quitting the job and going back to uni. I bet you wish you didn’t just memorise those “what you should say about time management in your job interview” tips and actually learnt some!

Well, here’s your chance! Here are some great time management tips you can start using while you’re still studying.

1. Start a To-Do List

This one is a no brainer. If you’ve working on 20 things, you’re most likely going to forget to do one if you haven’t written it down. No matter how busy you are, take ten minutes at the start of each day to put together a to-do list.

2. Prioritise

Some days (and by some, I mean most) getting everything done just isn’t going to happen.  Be realistic with what’s possible to achieve. A good way of doing this is to look at your to-do list and number each task in order of highest to lowest priority and aim to finish the first five by the end of the day.

3. A Calendar is Your Best Friend

Add everything into your calendar (no, I don’t mean your dog’s birthday) and schedule time in your diary for tasks if it helps you remember to do something, even if it means setting time aside just to check your emails.

Another idea is to block out a few hours for each task. Set yourself a certain amount of time to spend on each task, then, once the time is up, move on to the next task. If you didn’t finish the first one, come back to it later on.

Knowing when you’re most productive is also helpful when it comes to effectively managing your day. If you know you work best in the morning, schedule your most important tasks for when you first get in, so you can avoid having to push through that 3:30pm wall with all your urgent work still not finished.

4. Set Your Own Deadlines

Don’t just rely on the fact that you were given a certain date to finish a task or project.

At some point, someone is going to want to see where you’re at and what you’ve done, so it’s important to set yourself some small deadlines each week. That way you’re always ready to impress with all the work you’ve already finished.

By setting some small deadlines for yourself, you’ll be able to approach projects in a measured way and realistically finish everything on time without rushing to the end.  It’ll also give you peace of mind when something unexpectedly changes and you’ve got more work to do. And hey, setting personal deadlines is a great way of keeping track of everything you’ve achieved.

 

So with the new session about to start, now is the perfect time to start getting organised, form some time management habits you can use later on, and avoid having to pretend you know what time management is when you’re asked at your next job interview!

Jess Fernandez is part of the Operations team at UTS:Careers and has a background in media, with experience in the advertising and magazine industry. She is inspired by innovative and creative ideas and loves that she is part of a team that is so passionate about helping UTS Students reach their career goals.

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

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