Real Careers: Time Management

This month, we’re celebrating admin. professionals’ accomplishments and strategies.

This Week

Do you ever have challenges with time management? Wait. Let me rephrase that, before some of you begin rolling your eyes or laughing uncontrollably. Would you like a refresher on various approaches to time management?

This week, we’re looking at how high performing admin. professionals make the most of their time. When I interview people for the Real Careers feature, I ask them for their most effective time management strategies. While there are a number of similarities, different strategies work for different people

Here’s the first of this week’s series; enjoy checking in each day this week to see what works for other Real Careers’ alumni.

Anderson, Janice - UKJanice Anderson, England , by way of Australia: For me, it is using the colour categories in Outlook – both mine and my manager’s calendars are rainbow coloured as every kind of meeting, event and task has been allocated a colour. It helps that I can look at our diaries and immediately see where there are internal, external meetings and events.

I also use the colour categories for my emails so that, at a glance, I can see each morning what I need to action based on how I have allocated the email.

Mirella Autard-Catherine - MauritiusMirella Autard-Catherine, Mauritius –  I review my daily planning as well as my manager’s calendar every hour or so and adjust to last minute changes as they crop up. I always ensure that I can keep some time during the day to handle unexpected situations. If I feel overwhelmed at a certain point during a difficult day, I stop for a while, go for a walk or a coffee and come back to my office with a clearer mind. I call this my “stop, revive, survive” moment!

Cookson, Bonnie - EnglandBonnie Cookson, England: Writing a to do list – if it’s on the list, it gets done! I work through it point by point, making sure I don’t spend too much time on the “itty bitty” stuff and prioritising the urgent stuff.

Dailey, LaureenLaureen Dailey, Canada: Closing my door and dedicating a focused amount of time to the task at hand.



Davis, Jessica - USAJessica Davis, USA: I really do my best to prioritise my day as early as possible. I add to my calendar things that I don’t want to forget, and set reminders for things that need to get done. If I feel that I’m spending too much time on something and becoming unproductive, I walk away for a minute. When I return to my desk, I try to knock out one other small task or respond to an email before going back to my previous task.

Engelbrecht, SusanSusan Engelbrecht, South Africa: Get organised and stop procrastinating. You may be putting off tasks for a variety of reasons. Try breaking down the task into smaller segments that require less time commitment and result in specific, realistic deadlines.


Fovargue, BethanyBethany Fovargue, England: Know your best and worst times of the day for certain jobs – I am a night owl, so anything lengthy is best done towards the end of the day and into the evening, if required. The morning is best for “quick wins”, like emails and filing.

Motaung, Tholo - South AfricaTholo Motaung, South Africa: I plan and keep to my schedule, but also make room to accommodate any urgent issues that may arise.


Marcela Silva da Conceição Brito - BrazilMarcela Silva da Conceição Brito, Brazil: Plan to produce the important and the essential work within five to six hours per day. Thus, you can dedicate the hours left to act on the urgent situations.


Sneijkers, ChantalChantal Sneijkers, Belgium: Get to the office early, put on some good music and get on with the work. I accomplish a lot before everybody else comes in.



Stefanut, Carla - ItalyCarla Stefanut, Italy: Organise, prioritise and always have a plan B, if not a plan C.

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