Time management is a crucial skill for recruiters, who have to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
But what does time management in recruitment really mean, and how can recruiters apply it to their work?
In this article, we will explore the concept of time from a scientific and practical perspective, and provide some tips and tools to help recruiters optimize their time and achieve their goals.
We will also look at some common challenges and pitfalls that recruiters face when it comes to time management, and how to overcome them
Let’s start with some theory.
Einstein determined that time is relative; in other words, the rate at which time passes depends on your frame of reference. (Special Theory of Relativity)
If we ask a recruiter, time is the one thing they don’t have enough of. Time is most often a misunderstood concept in the recruitment process ex: Time-to-Hire, Time-to-find-leads, etc. Being a recruiter entails having to process tons of information, schedule meetings, and keep track of everything.
Knowing how to manage your time as a recruiter allows you to plan your workdays so that you finish your work with the smallest amount of effort and the least amount of time while reaching your recruitment goals.
5 Time Management Methods
Although there is no size-fits-all time management strategy, there are several techniques and methods that you might find useful in managing your time.
1. Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law is a mindset, a way to view and interpret your time.
It’s the tendency to increase the amount of work required in order to consume whatever amount of time can be allotted to it. Here are three ideas that stand out here:
- Work faster not harder: can you get anything done in whatever amount of time we set for it?
- Treat it like a sport: Gamify your team’s workload
- Squash your productivity killers: You’re in a race to complete your tasks, and you have no time to get distracted by emails and social posts.
2. “Eat that Frog” Method by Brain Tracy
Also called a “productivity hack,” eat the frog is a time management tactic often used to achieve two main goals:
- Make steady progress on your top priorities by making them easier to manage.
- Build momentum in your daily schedule by removing the most difficult or worrying tasks from your schedule first.
So, if you have two very important tasks to do, start with the biggest, most difficult, and most relevant task first. This method promotes deep work habits, a focused state of working without any distraction where your task is done in the most efficient & complete way possible.
How to eat the frog:
- Decide your frog by choosing the most important task and allocate 1-4 hours to complete it
- Break down into small steps by compartmentalizing the work
- Prepare beforehand by scheduling the tasks
- Eat the frog the next morning by completing the tasks
Time can be tamed with task management tools & techniques, priority setting plans, time management methods, and our all-time favorite to-do lists like the one below.
3. The “Alpen” Method by Prof. Lothar J. Seiwert
Although this method’s name is reminiscent of the high mountains in Europe, it is said to be the peak of self-organization. “Alpen” is a to-do list that illustrates your productivity.
By using a digital method or if you still enjoy the good old pen & paper method of the previous century, with “Alpen” you set limits & deadlines that prevent time waste and get more things done.
You learn to estimate time on tasks better, plan more efficiently, set priorities, and evaluate yourself so you can improve with time.
You can plan buffer time and have a realistic overview of your workload along with constant progress of your productivity.
Here are the simple steps to follow:
- A – to-do list of all planned Activities, tasks, and meetings
- L – estimating Length of time
- P – Planning buffer time
- E – Establishing prioritized decisions
- N – Noting down the level of success
If you have several different tasks, getting called from multiple directions at work, or wearing many different hats, the next method is for you. Priority setting is a skill and takes some practice to get to it, but if you do, your stress over workload is diminished.
4. Eisenhower Matrix by Steven Corey, Author
“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”.
Famously quoted to Fr US President Dwight D. Eisenhower (it’s debatable by many, but let’s keep it for the meaning)
This method was more recently revamped by the famous author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Corey. Its principle is about “not doing things right, but doing the right things”
As illustrated there are 4 quadrants:
- Do First
Some tips on using this effectively:
- Put tasks on to-do lists
- Limit to no more than 8 tasks per quadrant
- Use this for both business and personal life
- Avoid distractions
- Be mindful of procrastination
If there is a superstar of time management techniques in modern years, I think it would be Time Blocking, very deservingly so.
5. Time Blocking by Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work
Time blocking (and its relatives; time boxing, task batching, and day theming), is the simplest way to govern effectively your workdays.
Balance the multitude of different meetings, admins tasks, and special projects and have buffer time for those never-coming emergency situations that require time within your busy workday.
How does it work?
Utilize your calendar (preferably online) and box every task, and meeting you have including breaks, buffer time between meetings, admin tasks, and even social commitments.
Colour coding similar tasks allow for a quick overview of important vs admin vs live events like meetings so you can have a good synopsis of your schedule.
Steps & Hacks to take full advantage of the method:
- Dividing the day into blocks of time
- Each block is devoted to finishing a specific task or activity
- Focus only on the specific task or activity
Time Batching by completing similar tasks in one go. For example, answering all the emails in the morning at a specified slot.
Day Theming by having one main focus on a particular day. For example, today I will focus on my sourcing strategy, and every week this day I will reconsider my approach.
Time Boxing by using a specific slot to accomplish as many tasks in a box of time. For example, in this specific time slot, I will screen as many CVs as possible.
Tips & Tricks
- Plan breaks and set working hours in advance
- Find your Top Performance Time
- Avoid multitasking
- Identify time robbers and eliminate distractions
- Politely refuse “quick chats” & ask for written comments
- Before your ideas run away, use note-taking apps such as TeuxDeux, Evernote, OneNote, and macOS Notes app
- Time tracker tools are also very useful, like RescueTime
- Last but not least, use some tools that can allow you to manage your projects such as Asana, Paymo, Monday.com, Todoist, and Google Calendar
Time management is not only a skill, but also a mindset and a habit. As recruiters, we have to deal with many tasks and challenges that require our attention and time. By applying the techniques and methods that we have discussed in this article, we can optimize our time and achieve our goals more efficiently.
However, time management is not a one-time thing. It requires constant practice and improvement. We have to monitor our progress, evaluate our results, and adjust our strategies accordingly. We also have to be flexible and adaptable to the changing circumstances and demands of our work.
Ultimately, time management is about finding the balance between quality and quantity, between urgency and importance, and between work and life. By mastering time management in recruitment, we can not only improve our performance, but also our well-being and happiness.
Let’s spend our life like we spend money because “Money comes and goes, time only goes”.
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