Work Time Management Best Practices for the Back-to-School Season

Caroline Ceniza-Levine '93BC
September 12, 2019

Now that summer has come to a close and things are picking up for the fall, learn key work time management best practices from Caroline Ceniza-Levine of the Columbia Career Coaches Network. 

I recently used one professional activity for five other purposes, multiplying the impact of my time and effort. We are all so busy that you too should think about how to multiply your time and effort by using your professional activities for more than one end-goal.

In my case, I was featured in two segments on CNBC recently, sharing tips for upcoming graduates. You can see me talking job search tips at minute 6:12 and on-the-job success tips at minute 21:25. I used this marketing effort to update the media page on my website, share posts across various social media platforms, update networking connections specifically in the university space, and even inspire this blog post.

CNBC might have booked me because I have appeared with them before, and I used to write for the Executive Careers column (always keep in touch with former employers and clients!). However, they also might have thought of me because of a recent Forbes post I wrote on the same topic. If Forbes was the trigger, then my Forbes effort yielded CNBC, which yielded output for my website, social media, networking, and blog—leveraging one activity 6-to-1.

You don’t need a major media mention to get double-duty (or even more) from your professional activity. Here are five examples of how one professional activity serves one or more purposes:

1. You have a recent win and update your social network, target pipeline, and website

I used a media mention, but this could be a completed project that you use as a case study for prospective clients, in short insights posted on social media, or on a Sample Projects page for your website.

2. You attend a professional conference and share tidbits with colleagues

We all know that ongoing learning is valuable but it still feels hard to justify time and expense for a conference or class. However, that one conference is useful for your professional development, as well as networking with colleagues on what you learned and signaling to your boss or clients that you are investing in yourself.

3. You hear of an interesting opportunity and share the lead

I have written before that even happily employed people should review job postings. This one activity serves multiple purposes in giving you a good reason to contact someone and share the lead, as well as keeping you updated on your market, giving you ideas for your brand, and acting as an audit tool for your own career—are you competitive with what is required for openings today?

4. You update your professional references list and rekindle old connections

If you’re thinking about looking for a job, references might not be top of mind. Too many job seekers scramble to pull together references at the last minute. But proactively curating and confirming your professional references keeps you from scrambling and is a great way to rekindle old connections. If someone is a good reference for you, then they should be an active part of your network.

5. You compliment a colleague to their manager, giving double the praise

When someone does good work, the right thing to do is to compliment them—wouldn’t you want to be acknowledged for work you do? Saying thank you on the spot is always welcome, but go one step further and send an email to their manager, cc’ing your colleague so they know how much you appreciate them. Your colleague gets a written testimonial for their next performance review. Their manager feels great knowing that their team is appreciated (and may use your email for their own performance review). You feel good and look good to both the colleague and manager. Win-win-win.

Look at all that you already do and see if there are more ways you can make the most of your time. Even posting updates on what you’re learning and doing on social media is a start—this keeps you accountable, markets you as someone active in your field, and pings your broader network. Another win-win-win.

This article originally appeared on Six Figure Start. Image courtesy of Caroline Ceniza-Levine.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is an executive coach, writer, speaker, and co-founder of SixFigureStart® career coaching and, a real estate, travel, and financial independence blog. She writes for Forbes and teaches professional development courses at Barnard and SIPA. She has coached professionals at Amazon, Conde Nast, Goldman Sachs, Google, Tesla, and other leading firms. A classically-trained pianist at Juilliard, Ceniza-Levine stays active in the arts, performing stand-up comedy. Learn more about Ceniza-Levine and the Columbia Career Coaches Network.