Getting work done more efficiently gives you extra time outside work. It also allows you to accomplish more, which in a sales environment can lead to higher compensation and promotions. Everyone has the same 24 hours, but successful people generally have more productive time during the day than others.
This blog post will give you some actionable productivity hacks that you can implement this week to increase your time management skills and crush your daily goals.
1. Plan Weekly, Prioritize Daily
Everyone knows you need an action plan each day, but what is the best way to plan for success? You always want to keep in mind your long-term goals, but planning each day months out in advance is unrealistic in a fast-paced recruitment career. So I suggest that you set a weekly plan, and prioritize the end of each day.
At the beginning of each week, set attainable goals for the week that coincide with your monthly/quarterly goals. It’s easier to look at goals in weekly chunks, and it’s unrealistic to ask you to plan each and every day. Write down each task you want to complete, or goal you want to achieve, and keep this list relatively long but achievable. This is also a living list, meaning it can constantly be updated during the week.
Then, starting with Sunday night, at the end of each day prioritize the tasks on this list from the most urgent tasks to the least; this will give you direction within your day. Also, if you are able to accomplish the most urgent task in a day, you will be more and more motivated as the week continues on.
The reason for prioritizing at the end of each day is because in a job like recruitment, everything changes so quickly and you need to be agile. If you just stick to a weekly or monthly plan, as soon as circumstances at work change your plan will be worthless.
2. Review Weekly
This is a simple productivity habit that many miss, but is very easy. Review your initial weekly goals and see how you performed. Keeping yourself accountable to the goals you set allows you to take action in order to raise your productivity levels.
It’s easy to feel busy all the time with repetitive tasks, lots of background noise, and constant distractions. You’ll never realize these things are stealing your productive time unless you do this weekly audit.
This also requires a good amount of ownership of your personal time. Be responsible for how you handle every single task that you have on our calendar and weekly goals. A weekly review gives you insight into how you are spending this time, and how to make improvements.
3. Time Block
This is the productivity hack that I really struggle with. Time blocking puts you in the frame of mind to be as productive as you can over a designated period of time in one particular area. Everyone knows you have higher productivity levels when you have a singular focus. And it will increase your time management skills.
When time blocking, I would suggest looking at two different criteria. When are you most productive? And, what is the best time for this specific task? When you are most productive should be a simple answer. Is this earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon.? Are you a morning person? Or a night person? Time block tasks that take more energy during these times (i.e. cold calling, presentations, ect.).
What is the best time for a specific task is a bit more complicated. It is very much industry and job specific. Do more people answer cold calls in the morning or afternoon? Are meetings best had at the beginning of the day to kick things off, or at the end to review? Take a look at when you are most effective, and when the best time to complete a task is, and plan accordingly.
4. Group Similar Tasks
This productivity hack goes along with time blocking. When you time block, you can have that period dedicated completely to one task, such as cold calling. Or you can group similar tasks that are focused on the same outcome.
Sometimes I like to get all my outreach done in one time block; email, cold calls, and LinkedIn messages. Most likely you are going to be giving a similar message, potentially reaching out to the same people, and going for a similar goal.
This productivity method works when you have an urgent goal that can be achieved in multiple ways. This obviously doesn’t work if your goal is a more specific individual task like cold calling. But will work if your goal is a bit broader like uncovering 5 new leads in my market. This is the key to knowing whether or not to use this productivity habit.
This is one of the biggest time management skills you can have. Having a system for repetitive tasks is crucial for productivity. A lot of these systems will be set by leadership if you work for a company, but you should still try to develop each system further to match your style of work.
Spend some time outside of work, talk with high-level coworkers, and even follow up with leadership about systems and how to make repetitive tasks more efficient. Until you can get a program or algorithm to do these for you, you need to be that program.
6. Have Effective Meetings
Obviously, some meetings are out of your control. But the ones that you have control over, make them more effective and productive. Here are some ways to have more effective meetings.
Bring an agenda to each meeting. This is an outline of what needs to be accomplished, and what topics need to be brought up. Stick to this agenda as much as you can. You should also stick to your timelines set for the meeting. Let everyone know you have a hard stop at the end and do not let the meeting endlessly continue on and on. Too many times meetings can run over and into other tasks you have planned.
Leave out information that can be easily shared through email or other communication channels. Keep meetings for decisions, strategizing, and team building.
I’ll also include getting rid of pointless meetings. We’ve all experienced pointless meetings that are the biggest time wasters. If multiple meetings can be combined into one, or a meeting be taken away altogether, this will increase your level of productivity significantly.
7. Delegate Tasks
This productivity hack is pretty self-explanatory. The more task you can delegate, the more productive you can be on urgent and core tasks for your business. This may be difficult if you work for a recruitment agency, as they will assign you tasks to complete.
But if you are running your own desk and a self-employed recruiter, this can be one of the most important productivity tips to incorporate. The more you take on, the more you are working IN your business. The more you can delegate, the more you can work ON your business. Growing it, expanding it, and helping more clients.
8. Less Multitasking
A common misconception is that you are more efficient when you are multitasking. But this has actually been proven false. The concept of multitasking has even been disproven. The mind is actually switching back and forth between tasks, rather than focusing on multiple tasks at once. This is a productivity killer.
Instead, use the tips on this list such as planning your week, prioritizing your day, time block, and systematizing everything to focus on individual tasks. Multitasking will just lead to less productive hours of time you spend at work.
9. Incorporate Productivity Tools
With the self-help industry boom, there are so many productivity apps and software. There is everything from free apps on your phone that can be used for note taking and task management, to subscription-based software programs made for small to enterprise companies for task/project management.
After doing your weekly review of goals and productivity, where do you fall short? Time management, organization, systems, planning? There is an app or program for it all. If you work with an agency, check with them if they have any programs or software for you to use. Otherwise, I would suggest taking a look at some online reviews on cheap, and free, apps to get started.
10. Clear and Effective Communication
So much of your work being a recruiter is communication. Not just to candidates and clients, but to teammates, coworkers, leadership, and even through your social network. Clear and effective communication gets to the point and gets you what you need.
As a recruiter, you rely on your team, especially if you are delegating tasks, to accomplish goals and finish work. Communicating clearly and effectively will allow them to be more productive for you, in turn giving you a productivity booster.
You can even use this productivity booster with hiring managers in the recruitment world. They are just like a coworker when trying to make a placement. Clear and effective communication will lead to a more collaborative hiring process.
11. Teach Your Team These Productive Hacks
Don’t be afraid to pull aside coworkers and teach them all the productivity skills you’ve learned. Similar to my point about clear and effective communication, this will increase your effectiveness working with them.
You can do this with informal one-on-one sessions, or you can ask your manager if you can put together a training on these topics. One big plus to putting together a training for your entire team is that your manager will see this and leadership ability which can lead to a faster promotion.
I hope you were able to pick up a few easy productivity hacks from this blog article. In the recruitment world, more productivity means more placements which can turn into higher commissions and faster promotions! Which is what we are all looking for right?
Daniel Boyce is an executive recruiter in MedTech, IVD, and digital health based out of San Diego, CA. He has excelled in sales, business development, and recruitment, even taking on leadership positions when called to. He writes content to help the new, established, recruiter quickly upgrade his skills to dominate their vertical. Find blogs on recruiter education, salary, and tips at awarerecruiter.com