Recruiters, Save Time by Colour-Coding Your Diary

Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have, and everyone hates wasting their day. Whether that’s spending too long constantly replying back and forth to emails, or external influences like that co-worker who’s just a little too chatty, it’s easy to lose track of time and not be as productive as you could be.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can maximise your time’s efficiency, be more productive, and ultimately, be more successful as a recruiter.

Thankfully, we now live in an age where technology makes every aspect of our lives that little bit easier, and time management is no different. We recently wrote about various tips and tools to help you stay productive, looking at how you can maximise your online and offline presence as a recruiter.

This post will help you improve your time management strategies, providing you with plenty of actionable advice to increase your productivity.

Colour-Code Your Diary

Colour_coded_diary.pngA simple tip to maximise your efficiency is to colour-code your diary. By doing this, you can easily see where you’re spending the majority of your time, and can therefore look for ways to better manage your tasks. If you’re spending too much time in meetings, make your hour-long meeting into a 45-minute one, for example.

You can code your diary by task (i.e. meetings/interviews/lunch etc.) or if you work on a time-basis with clients, colour-coding is an effective way of demonstrating how long you spend on individual clients, giving a more accurate representation of their fee.

Similarly, assign a colour to your breaks in your workday – plan them and take them. This seems counter-intuitive when you might have a lot to get through, but breaks allow you to return to your work slightly more relaxed and recharged, ready to take on the rest of the day with renewed vigour.

Getting the Most Out of Outlook

In terms of time management, using the tools that are available with Microsoft Outlook can maximise your time’s effectiveness. Whilst many users only utilise it as an e-mail program, the to-do lists, tasks and calendar options are very effective at helping you manage your time.

For example, setting up rules for your incoming emails gives you the opportunity to prioritise which emails require answering first. For recruiters, this allows you to automatically group together emails from certain clients or projects that are perhaps more time-sensitive than others.

I also like to implement the two- minute rule; if you can answer an email within two minutes, go for it. And if you can’t? Set aside a period of time for checking and responding to emails later.

Ensuring your contacts are up-to-date and neatly grouped together will allow you to avoid the tedium of constantly searching for everyone’s individual email addresses, only to find they’re out-of-date.

For instance, if you have a team of recruiters that deals with a specific client, creating a Project Group for that client means you’ll be able to email each person within that group quickly and easily. For more information on Project Groups, I recommend watching this video.

And of course, being able to schedule meetings via Calendar sharing is a huge benefit. It can be done with one simple confirmation email in comparison to the litany of to-and-fro emails from other people trying to find a time that works for all parties.

Set a To-Do List

Recruiters' Time Management StrategiesTo-do lists are of immense help when it comes to visual organisation, either using online-based software, or the old-fashioned way on a piece of paper.

Being able to easily visualise that you have 3 phone interviews and a client meeting on any given day, and then ticking off each task once it’s completed helps break up your workload. It provides you with short-term goals to attain, and a positive feeling at the end of the day; you can visualise what you’ve accomplished with the click of a button.

Lists also help you to focus on the task at hand as opposed to attempting to multi-task, something that has been proven to harm productivity. Even if your concentration wanes slightly, you don’t ever need to ask yourself the question, “what was I doing before?” A quick check of your to-do list and you’re back to getting tasks completed.

Once you’ve implemented some of these strategies, you need to make sure they’re actually working for you. We don’t all work in the same way, and consistent reflection is a vital part of assessing the effectiveness of your time management skills. Ensuring that you know whats working and what isn’t with regards to managing your time means you can use what is working to better plan for the coming months. You’ll never find yourself asking, “Where has the day gone?” again.

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Fino Hood

Fino runs his own social media consultancy in Edinburgh. When he's not helping companies grow their presence online you’ll find him watching Rugby.

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