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Time management - A key to career progression

Kim Sammut - Graduate
Master of Business Administration

Kim Sammut, UniSA graduate and General Manager of Operational Excellence at the global professional services firm WSP, completed his MBA while working full-time and being the primary carer to his two young children. He knows all too well that competing professional and personal demands can often make time feel like an enemy.

As Kim has experienced first-hand, investing your time wisely can provide a great return on investment, allowing you to become more effective and efficient in your professional life, improving your organisational performance, and elevating your career prospects.

Utilising time as tool enabled Kim to successfully complete a Master of Business Administration and gain the benefits of postgraduate study. 

“Absolutely everything that I learned from my MBA has been directly applicable in my senior management role. I feel that my job has become easier, more enjoyable and my higher performance has been noticed by my superiors.

My newfound whole-of-business understanding enables me to have regular game-changing conversations with other leaders and to continually improve the performance of our business.” says Kim.

Highlighting that the key to achieving your personal and professional goals lies in improving your relationship with time, Kim shares his top 20 tips.

Prioritise your focus

  1. Adopt habits to maintain singular focus and avoid inefficient multi-tasking
  2. Block-out focus time to meet commitments on or ahead of schedule
  3. Schedule quiet time for ‘important & not urgent’ tasks each morning (see image)
  4. During focus times, find places that are relatively free from distractions, and use ‘do not disturb’ settings (e.g. on Skype)
  5. Allow occasional brain breaks (e.g. for friendly banter), as this can help you maintain high cognitive performance throughout the day.

Rule your email

  1. Decide when to check emails: hide ‘new email’ notifications and set your phone to ‘pull’ email notifications (don’t use your inbox as a ‘to-do’ list)
  2. Do, delay, delegate or delete
  3. Only copy-in recipients who need to know and unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists
  4. Type ‘no reply required’ or NRR at the end of information only emails
  5. If a particular email thread is not resolving an issue, pick up the phone or have a meeting.

Meet with purpose

  1. Schedule shorter &/or less frequent meetings, if at all - query if a meeting is needed or if the same result could be efficiently achieved another way
  2. Have a clear purpose and agenda, record actions and key resolutions
  3. Accept, defer, decline or delegate meeting invitations promptly
  4. Start on time and finish before time
  5. Avoid off-topic discussions, don’t get comfortable, and consider standing.

Look after your wellbeing

  1. Manage expectations
  2. Sleep well - if you are tired, take a nap
  3. Eat well, stay hydrated and avoid excess caffeine, alcohol & other drugs
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Have regular downtime, take leave for longer than two weeks at a time and don’t check emails out of hours.