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Time management

Time management involves the ability to plan and prioritise your workload.

You will need to set yourself realistic and achievable targets in order to meet deadlines and develop strategies to work under pressure and prioritise if deadlines are looming. Strong organisation skills are vital, as is the ability to respond to changing demands and hybrid working where you may divide your time between working in an office and working remotely. Your goal should be to achieve a balance between your study, work and leisure time but to be adaptable when required.

Activities where you could develop time management skills

The following activities, which may be undertaken as part of or alongside your studies, can be good ways to develop your time management skills:

Opportunities may exist on your course to complete a team project for an organisation or individual.

  • Manchester Leadership Programme This University of Manchester academic module is open to most undergraduate students at Manchester.
  • Skills Training Sessions A variety of sessions are usually offered during the academic year, run by employers or careers consultants. Check CareerConnect for forthcoming events that include a scenario involving time management such as business games or assessment centre exercises.

Getting involved in activities alongside your studies will help you develop skills and provide evidence of good time management.

  • Volunteering Develop a range of skills while giving something back to the community.
  • Getting involved in a Student Society will help you build a new interest and will add to your skills.
  • PASS Leader Voluntary role facilitating groups of lower year students on specific study related topics and strategies. Some students may have the opportunity to take on co-ordinator roles after a year as a Leader.
  • Peer Mentoring Improve your communication skills by supporting others through their studies and wider university life.

How will time management skills be assessed during the recruitment process?

Application form and interview questions

Some examples of application form and interview questions that are designed to test time management skills:

  • Describe a situation in which you had to work under pressure.
  • How do you balance your time between your studies and your spare time?
  • You are on reception dealing with an online enquiry when a visitor arrives at the office and your manager hands you a note to see them straightaway. How do you respond?
  • Tell me about a time when you had multiple deadlines to meet, how did you cope with this situation?

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) and STAR (situation, task, action, result) models. Our recommendations are based on feedback from employers.

Psychometric Tests

Situational Judgement Tests may include questions that test your ability to deal with a number of competing demands on your time. Trying some practice tests is likely to improve your performance.

Assessment centres

  • You may be set an In-tray/e-tray exercise to show how you would handle a very large volume of emails. This is usually a timed exercise, and involves demonstrating your ability to prioritise, delegate and correspond at a business level by way of an organisational chart.
  • You could also be asked to take part in a group exercise where time management is one of the competencies being assessed.