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SFU Co-op Student

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Public Relations Intern Kelly shares 5 strategies to accomplishing deadlines and effective time management.

Whether you are a university student, an industry professional or anywhere in between, time management is fundamental to your personal, academic and professional performance. Learn to combat deadlines and manage your time more effectively by following the tips below. 

1.  Manage Deadlines

Throughout our experience as university students, we sooner or later find ourselves juggling three different papers, a tutorial presentation and an exam while we approach an overwhelming period of mid-semester madness. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, the whirlwind of assignments and deadlines are not limited to the student sphere. I tackle daunting deadlines in the workplace by creating daily to-do lists. I keep a detailed planner outlining significant dates and establish realistic timelines centred around crucial closing dates.

2.  Acknowledge your Bandwidth

When we are completely engrossed in work we tend to lose hindsight of other tasks, deadlines and commitments. Avoid biting off more than you can chew by recognizing your bandwidth and what you are realistically capable of accomplishing. Cross-reference your personal and social commitments with work deadlines to circumvent impending collisions. I keep myself in check by reviewing and updating my calendar frequently.

3.  Learn to Say No

When you are striving to succeed in the workplace, learning to ‘say no’ may ultimately be the biggest challenge.  Develop an open line of communication with your supervisor or team members and be honest about your bandwidth. There is nothing worse than sacrificing the quality of your work to assume more responsibility. When a project falls on my lap that I don’t have the bandwidth to complete in time, I let my supervisor know directly and propose an alternate timeline.

4.  Prioritize

Manage your time effectively by allocating your time and energy appropriately. Weigh the significance of your assignment with immediate deadlines to determine what exactly needs to be on the top of your daily to-do list. From my experience, time-sensitive matters should always trump long-term continuing projects. When I am unclear of what assignments or projects should take precedence, I make a point of asking my supervisor for further clarification. 

5.  Stop Procrastinating

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” 

Benjamin Franklin

Even though it may seem more important (and attractive) to clean your apartment, bake cookies, go for a run, check Twitter and colour code your calendar - resist the temptation to procrastinate. Rather than putting off important tasks, reward yourself by completing them. I break down my day into increments: 30 minutes studying 5 minutes on social media. In the office, I take advantage of my breaks by going outside for a walk, stretching my legs and enjoying a change of pace.

At the end of the day, time management (or lack thereof) can ultimately make the difference between success and failure. 

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Kelly on Twitter and LinkedIn

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