3 Time Management Tips

July 07, 2022

For recent college graduates, one of the biggest challenges is managing the ambiguity of work schedules. In college, when you woke up on Monday, you had a nearly complete picture of your entire schedule from 9-5 that week. You knew when your classes were scheduled, when your extracurriculars had meetings, etc. That insight allowed you to easily schedule out the rest of your week, library sessions, group meetings, social activities, etc. Why can’t we approach our professional lives with similar advanced scheduling?

This can start with a daily approach to time management. As you wind down for the day, look at your schedule for the next day and consider three things:

1. What do I already have on my schedule and what time do I need to set aside to prepare for those calls/meetings?

When you think about your schedule for the day, you need to consider more than just the exact time set aside for your meetings and calls. Set aside time before scheduled events, in order to prepare and otherwise ensure you put your best foot forward. In your early career, especially, you want to avoid booking events immediately before or after important meetings.

2. What critical tasks do I need to complete tomorrow? How much time is needed for them and when is best to pencil those into my schedule?

With scheduled events taking up a chunk of your time, it can be easy to lose track of your to-do list. I make sure to set aside time on my Outlook calendar, both daily and weekly, for the activities I need to take care of. For a sales rep, this could be putting an hour of prospecting on your schedule each day or setting aside time to check in with clients who have upcoming games.

(Tip: make sure to “show as free” on your calendar so these appointments don’t prevent others from booking time with you).

3. With the free time left on my schedule, what other activities/tasks can I pursue?

While there might not be time in the day to get “everything” done, we can certainly accomplish more if we manage our time better. This can be setting aside time for the long-term projects that are constantly pushed back because of higher priority tasks.

This is also an important way to set aside time to recharge and connect with your coworkers. Especially in sales roles where call metrics are so important, individuals might feel like they don’t have any extra time in their day – I promise you can make the time! At the Cubs we actually created a goal for our reps to take time to have lunch or coffee with individuals throughout the organization.

Remember that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Taking time to schedule your day improves your effectiveness and will save you time in the long run.