As a recruiter, you hold one of the busiest and most in-demand roles in any corporate environment. You likely have multiple projects to juggle at once and a lot of people relying on you for their career needs. To succeed, you have to use every minute of your workweek as efficiently as possible.
The good news is there are proven strategies you can implement in your daily life that will help you stay on top of all your tasks — and maybe even get more done than you thought possible.
Here are eight tips to help you manage your time and boost your productivity at work:
1. Write a Daily To-Do List
A daily to-do list is one of the best tools in your arsenal. To get the most out of it, create three subcategories: the first for items you have to get done today, the second for tasks that need your attention but can wait, and the third for minor items that would be great to do, but only if there is extra time. Move whatever you don’t complete to the following day’s list so nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Create Short- and Long-Term Goals
A daily to-do list is good for short term-goals, but you should also have weekly, monthly, and yearly benchmarks in view. Put your goals in writing and keep that list handy so you can easily reference it when you get off track. Leaving sticky notes around your office with reminders of your goals may also help you stay focused.
Don’t hesitate to adjust your goals as necessary, and if you don’t reach one, don’t give up. Just revamp it and keep trying.
3. Maintain a Clean Desk
A disorganized and cluttered desk hampers productivity, promotes distraction, and causes stress. Take five minutes before you clock out each evening to clean off your desk and organize the items you’ll need for tomorrow. The only items that should be on your desk or out in the open are things that need your immediate attention.
4. Manage Your Inbox
Create subfolders within your email account and file each message appropriately as it comes in. That way, you won’t have yesterday’s unimportant emails lingering in your inbox. Like a clean desk, an organized inbox will help you stay efficient and focused.
5. Keep Personal Distractions Away From Work Time
If you get a phone call, email, or text during the workday on any matter unrelated to business, ignore it until the day is done. Also, be wary of colleagues who distract you too often by asking for favors or wasting your time with unnecessary conversation. Small distractions like these can add up to hours of wasted time over the course of a week. If you’re careful about where you’re spending your time, you can use it more wisely.
6. Avoid Energy Boosters
Coffee doesn’t work forever, and energy shots can be dangerous. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and high blood pressure, all of which harm your health and make you less productive during the day.
Instead of these unnatural boosts, tap natural sources when your energy starts to run low. Eat high-energy foods like blueberries and almonds and stay hydrated throughout the day. You’ll be more relaxed, healthier, and more consistently productive.
7. Use Email With Caution
Email isn’t the only method of communication, and in fact, it can be a massive time-waster. Follow this rule of thumb: If you can say your message faster than you can type it, pick up the phone instead. Not only do you save time on typing the message out, but you also won’t have to wait as long for a response.
8. Take an Additional Break
In addition to your lunch hour, take a second break in the morning or afternoon. Even an extra five minutes at the water cooler or a brief walk around the office can get you back on track when you find your focus fading. Make sure to take breaks intentionally and not sporadically or too frequently. Remember, breaks should make you more productive, not less.
These strategies should help any recruiter take back control of their time, but they are not the only time management techniques available. Through trial and error, you will learn which strategies work best for you — some of which may not even be listed here. By adjusting your strategy as you see fit, you’ll maintain top productivity in the long run.
Mike Cole is a career coach and writer based in New York.