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Time Management with Michelle Maunder

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Michelle works as a CIPD Acacia Tutor. She also holds down a full time job, as the Staff Council Chair for TI Media and until recently was a Trustee on a CIO. She is often asked: “How do you juggle everything….?” Below, she tells us everything! 

My Purple and Gold Notebook 

Well, to be honest, it all comes down to my purple and gold notebook. It may sound extremely simple and frightfully 1980s/90s but I would be totally lost without it. I have to say I don’t know what I will do when I run out of pages as it is very unique and always makes me smile when I look at it as I know it’s true value.

My notebook is very well travelled: it’s been to India, Fuerteventura, Prague and Skiathos to name just a handful of the locations around the globe that it has been religiously taken to as it is the one thing that helps me to maintain a balance when it comes to my work, life and self-development.  I learnt a few years ago that without my purple and gold saviour I can quite easily burn myself out if I am not managing my time effectively.

Organising My Book

So you’re probably wondering how such a non-technological object can help me to do this.  Well, the front of my book is set out as an individualised diary, not like any other diary you will have ever seen as it has its own unique headings at the top of the page such as venue, topic, preparation, marking as this enables me to track the modules that I am teaching and the marking that I must complete.

At the same time, this diary section contains all of my meetings, my partner’s invigilation of level 7 exams, holidays, birthdays, CPD activities and key project deadlines, so that for me it is a one stop shop for everything I need to do this week, month and year in a visually easy to see manner (as I am a visual learner so this works well for me).

The very front of the book contains everything that I need to know about each of the locations that I may teach in from Liverpool Street, through Holborn to London Bridge and Stratford. Where-as the very back of the book contains my marking pages, each module has a page and each student a line so I can keep track of submissions and marking achievements.

Why I Use a Book

I have tried lots more technologically modern approaches in the form of MS Excel and Word, but none have ever given me the same quick access from anywhere (especially on those times where there is no internet access) or the peace of mind that I have not missed anything.

Now I must be sounding like a bit of a dinosaur when I talk about my notebook, but in actual fact it enables me to make the most of a lot of very useful apps within my smart-phone such as my diary, notes and reminder apps.

The key thing is that it enables me to have a more calm and composed life. It helps me to know what I am doing and when.


Time Management for Students

I would highly recommend to anyone considering studying at any level, that before they start that they think about their own lives and establish their own unique way to balance work, life and studying.

As I write this now I remember a number of students finding their own ways to make the most of their time whilst studying.

One very successful CIPD level 5 student found her own way of claiming time for studying by booking a meeting room at her workplace for 2 hours each evening straight after work (Monday to Thursday) as she knew that if she went home she would become distracted and so not study.  Where-as this way when she got home she could give her full attention to her partner and daughter and she didn’t feel guilty or stressed as she had completed her study for the day.

When I want to undertake some CPD activities, I always schedule them in for a Sunday morning (into my purple and gold notebook) as my partner loves to read the Sunday newspapers and so I know I have up to 3 hours of undisturbed time to myself to focus on some learning.

The funniest approach for finding those 15 minutes to read an article from People Management Magazine was suggested by a chap from the MOD when I was training them for Acacia Learning in Ipswich.  He was honest enough to say that he would be swapping his usual reading matter in the bathroom to People Management magazine and then he could read it whilst completing his morning ablutions!

My Advice?

The most important thing that you need to do is be honest with yourself and fully appreciate what time you have available to dedicate to your studies and carve out that time and ring-fence it so that you and those close to you can form a new habit.  This way you’ll be able to still enjoy a fun social life whilst achieving a fantastic qualification.

Michelle’s Top Time Management for Students Tips:

  1. Establish your own unique way to balance work, life and studying.
  2. Be honest with yourself and fully appreciate what time you have available to dedicate to your studies.
  3. Carve out that time and ring-fence it so that you and those close to you can form a new habit.
  4. Be sure to include some you time to enjoy a social life whilst achieving a fantastic qualification.

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