Stupidly busy? Be smart and manage your time effectively.

Sometimes it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. With the competing demands of revising for exams, writing essays and applying for jobs, good management of your time is essential.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider if you are filling your time wisely. Are you putting off more challenging tasks by cleaning the house, doing the washing up, checking Facebook? My advice…..

Stop Procrastinating!

  1. Just start – do something (anything) to get the task under-way.
  2. If it’s big, break it down into smaller parts and do a little each day so you don’t feel so daunted by it.
  3. Do one thing at a time. Just because you can do ten things at once doesn’t mean you should. Focusing on one thing at a time means you’ll do better work, finish faster, and move on to other, more enjoyable activities.
  4. A cluttered desk is not helpful. Clear your desk of everything not related to what you are currently doing. This will help you concentrate and focus your attention.
  5. Identify your ‘prime time’. We all have a time of day when we are alert and attentive. The secret is to recognise when this is and do the tasks that require energy, concentration and thought when you’re at your sharpest.
  6. Plan ahead by creating a schedule including study, work, and your personal commitments for the next few months. Then…
  7. Prioritise: to be effective, you need to decide what tasks are urgent and important and focus on these. You’ll feel a real sense of achievement and satisfaction from ticking completed tasks off you list.
  8. Work in blocks of time: try a maximum of an hour before taking a 15min break, this way you’ll concentrate better.
  9. Minimise interruptions by switching off your phone, signing out of social media, turning off alerts and push notifications or asking friends not to disturb you. You can survive without knowing your friends’ latest status update for a few hours.
  10. Give yourself a reward once you complete a task to keep you motivated.

Some people believe they need the chaos of leaving things to the last minute and the pressure of a tight deadline to motivate them: ask yourself whether this is really effective or whether it’s disguised procrastination.

If you just do it now, you can look forward to some real leisure time later without the pressure of future work hanging over you. Breaking tasks down and scheduling work ahead of time also means you won’t get overwhelmed later on. It’s all about delayed gratification and you might actually find you produce better work under less stress.

Claire Wrixon
Careers Adviser

Thinking Ahead

Job searching starts earlier these days…

I think it’s fitting that one of the first posts here is inspired by another Careers Service blog! The excellent Manchester Graduate Careers Blog gave me food for thought last week as I read Holly’s post on how employers are opening their applications for 2013 start already .

This reminded me how employers’ timetables are sometimes not in line with the university calendar, and whilst penultimate students are just breathing a sigh of relief that their exams are over, employers are gearing up to recruit them for their graduate schemes.

We know that some students are aware of this- a recent report stated that 42% of students last year had applied for a job before the end of October  and for students with an interest in banking early applications have always been essential.

However, for those who are still in the mindset “Hey, I’ll start in November”, it could mean that some of the opportunities have closed– this excellent timeline created last year demonstrates how a lot of the Times Top 100 employers such as the Civil Service Fast Stream, Teach First and McKinsey close their application process 4 weeks into the Autumn Term. That’s why our Careers Fairs are so early in the Autumn Term.

Scanning through the 450+ jobs posted on the UoB Careers Service website right now, you certainly see  this trend for early advertising with some of the employers that Holly mentions already posted for 2013, such as the Tesco Procurement Graduate Programme. What’s more, Unilever, who were delivering a case study session last week at our Science Faculty Careers Day, mentioned that they will open applications in August.

However, the vacancies advertised now also give the reassurance that employers are still recruiting now  for an immediate start. This of course reflects the huge diversity in the jobs market, with a lot of smaller employers recruiting much later, and also the fact that the larger employers recruit all year round, or are still recruiting because they haven’t found the right people to fill their roles.

So, when faced with the negativity media about how students graduating in 2012 or even 2013 are doomed, here are a few key things to remember:

1)      Research your employers– make sure that you know when they are opening their recruitment for internships or graduate places. Our ‘How to research employers’ pages are a good place to start.

2)      Don’t underestimate how long application forms can take to put together– make sure you give yourself time to get it checked and double checked.

3)      The Careers Service is  open all summer, and if you’re not in Bristol, contact us via e-mail and phone.

Sara Whittam, Careers Adviser