Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…”
— from the epic “Fly Like an Eagle”
Iconic rock legend Steve Miller, in this lyric, captured how talent advisors feel every single day. When you work with people, it never seems like you have time to yourself.
There is truth in that. When you work in HR, you are meant to be present for others. I can understand how incredibly frustrating that can be. The fallout of this is toxic for organizations, however. If we become frustrated with employees because they carve into our time, we project our frustration on them. It is not a healthy way to practice as a talent advisor.
I’ve never been a fan of formal “time management” programs because they often backfire and result in endless to-do lists that continue to bleed over from day to day. I’m also not a fan of set models where someone promises that if you follow “x” amount of steps, your life will turn around. Our jobs as talent advisors aren’t like an infomercial. We are dealing with real-world people situations that take time. This isn’t something that should be viewed negatively. Remember, without people your HR jobs don’t exist.
I do, however, believe in advice. The thing about advice is that you can take it and decide what you’d like to do with it.
Here are four things I have used to give me more time than I need each day.
“I’m not busy.”
Whenever you meet talent advisors and ask them how they are, the response is, “I’m busy.” That’s a cop out. I’m sure your days are full, but when your attitude is that you’re busy, you imply that you can’t be bothered with items because you have so much going on. If your day is full of busywork, then strip it out and get rid of the tasks that waste your time. You need to sit back and look at what your day entails and see how much doesn’t need to be done. If things aren’t adding value to your role or your organization, get rid of them. Trust me, no one will notice.
Everybody’s time is important.
This is something that everyone forgets. We often think only our time is important, and that is one of the main reasons we get internally upset when people impose on it. If you remember that everyone’s time is valuable, you won’t get frustrated. Help others understand that your time is important so that the time you spend with others is valuable and not frivolous.
Be a college professor.
I fondly remember professors who had office hours and told us when they would be available. It wasn’t a schedule for more appointments or meetings; it was a time set aside for students. If someone popped in, great. It was fine if no one stopped by, too. The reason “office hours” works so well is that people know when you’re available. Doing this takes discipline, and it isn’t rude. People like structure. The key is that if you do this, be consistent. Train your “students” to know when to stop by.
Do what you love.
You already do this, but you don’t see it because you’re focusing on the minutia of your job. Trust me. You take the time to go out to eat, watch TV, and spend time with friends. You always have time for that. Look at your work as a talent advisor and use the same approach. Looking at the positive side of what you do will allow you to allocate your time throughout the day. When you do this, interruptions won’t throw you. You’ll embrace them because you’ll have more time than you have ever had before.
I hope my advice resonates with you. I firmly believe that “having more time” is about making better choices. Try my four pieces of advice and see what works for you!
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