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What is 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 if deadlines are looming. Strong organisation skills are vital, as is the ability to respond to changing demands. Your goal should be to achieve a balance between your study, work and leisure time.

Application form and interview questions

Some examples of application form and interview questions which 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 sat on reception, answering the telephone 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.

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.

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 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.
  • Volunteering Gives you the chance to develop a range of skills while giving something back to the community.