If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day then you’re not alone. We constantly hear from Careers Advisors who wish they could clone themselves (or hire an assistant), and while we can’t help with that, we’ve put together some great tips you can use to save time and work smarter (not harder).
Whether you implement some or all of them is up to you, but we’re sure they’ll make a difference.
Use a time management app
Don’t try to keep track of everything yourself – use a time management app instead. These apps allow you to get all of your tasks out of your head and onto ‘paper’ so you can stay organised.
There are lots of apps available, so you need to find one that works for you and your schedule – think of them like a supercharged to-do list, that can also remind you to stay on track. Most available apps will allow you to log in to the same account on your phone, tablet and laptop, so you can keep track regardless of where you are working.
We’ve used a few of them here in the Study Work Grow office, and these are our favourites:
Asana – structure your tasks, assign team members and set deadlines. There is a free version that works well for small teams
Trello – this popular app works a bit like a pin board or to-do list; it’s quick and easy to add items, break them down into tasks and reorder them based on your schedule
Evernote – keep notes on the go, so when you have that brainwave in the middle of Coles you don’t need to worry about forgetting it before you get home. Google Keep is another version of the same thing
Toggl – if you don’t know where your time is going Toggl could help you identify which tasks are sucking most of your time and show you where to save your energy
You can also use your Google Calendar or iCal to keep track of what’s going on – add tasks and due dates as well as events, so you can see when you’ll be busy ahead of time.
Get your files in order
Do you know where to find everything you need on your computer? Or do you need to check in three different places before you can find anything?
If your computer files are a mess then take an hour or so to sort them out.
Create new folders based on how you use your files (ie. files for students, files for reporting, application forms etc.) or on another filing system which works for you.
Label notes and documents with the date, or at least the month and year, and delete duplicates.
If you’re not already using a cloud-based filing system, then consider moving to Dropbox or one of the alternatives. Your files will be available whenever and where ever you need them, and changing over computers will become much easier.
With organised files, it’ll take you less time to find the documents you need, when you need them.
Build a quick reference system
Careers Advisors need to refer to a huge amount of information that they can’t possibly hope to remember, so build a system that will help you find the information you need quickly, and without having to resort to Google each time.
Put together a list of open days, ATAR cut-offs for popular courses, and links to popular scholarships, so you can pass along the information to students quickly.
At Study Work Grow, we support our member schools with professional Quick Reference Guides – you can find them all here.
Set blocks of time aside for student appointments
If you find that you are constantly distracted throughout the day by student ‘walk-ins’, consider setting aside blocks of time where students can meet with you. It’s easy to then structure your week around these set times, and let your students make appointments in advance.
Put your times on your office noticeboard or use our appointment scheduler to keep track of what you’ve got coming up. Not only will you avoid disruptions, your students will appreciate being able to schedule a time to speak with you when they can get your full attention.
Plus, you can ask to find out a little about what they want to discuss before the meeting, allowing you to prepare in advance.
Not sure how to set up an appointment system? As a member school, you can use our appointment booking system at no extra cost – find out how it works here.
Create a Careers Newsletter
A key part of your role is to ensure students know about opportunities that are available. But there are literally thousands of opportunities out there, and keeping up can take hours each week.
One of the most effective ways to distribute information about careers news and events to students (and their parents) is through a regular careers newsletter. You’ll save time because you can let everyone know about all the new information at once, without needing to relay it to students on an individual basis.
We send careers news to thousands of students and parents each week, and we know that regular news engages students and encourages them to search for new options, which could be great if you’re struggling to engage students with your careers program.
Your careers newsletter doesn’t need to be complex or long-winded, and you can sign up to receive information directly from many universities and training providers, which will ensure you have the basics covered.
If you want to save even more time (and deliver a professional-quality product), then you could consider outsourcing your careers newsletters.
At Study Work Grow, we create school-branded newsletters that are designed to engage students, and include information from thousands of sources from across Australia. You can use our Newsletter Creator to generate careers newsletters in just minutes, and when your students sign up for free as part of your membership we’ll email them the news directly, saving you more time and encouraging your students to explore their options.