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3 things Phuket taught me about time management

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The Human Resources team had the pleasure of hosting our first Human Resources Leaders’ Summit in Phuket early this week, but as much as I loved being able to work by the beach, the constant challenge I am still struggling with is time management.

You see, the trouble with working offsite while hosting an event is that regular everyday work still has to go on.

Even with technology like instant messaging and remote access to my desktop back in the Singapore office, it was a daily struggle to sit and work while other guests had the luxury of sitting by the water. However, on this most recent trip to Phuket, I picked up a few simple time management lessons I reckon I could apply to the daily grime.

Plan, plan, plan (and plan some more)

The agenda for the conference started at 10am on most days, making it seem as though I had a few extra hours in the morning to sort out things out for the local office. But despite that, unexpected meetings, a laptop which refused to connect to the internet for more than half an hour at any one time, and other small hiccups meant it never hurt to spend an extra half an hour before bed to draw up my list of things to do or urgent tasks.

I usually list out my to-do list first thing in the morning, but I’m starting to think it may be a better idea to do so at the end of every day in preparation for the next work day. At least that means I get a few extra minutes in the morning to settle in, and know what I need to get to, instead of rushing through my first hour.

You win some, you lose some

Okay, I will admit that even though I had that list of things I knew I had to get done, it was very hard to resist drinking one more coconut by the pool side while looking out into the ocean. Or scheduling a massage at the hotel’s spa. Or even stretching lunch out so that I could catch up from people I haven’t seen in a while.

So, while I allowed myself those tiny indulgences, I also had to be disciplined in putting in an extra 30 minutes or an hour at the end of the day, or getting to breakfast a little earlier to make up for the lost time. I saw a lot of the other conference delegates doing the same, spotting them in the business centre at 7am before breakfast, or still working in the restaurant after everyone else had left.

I guess you really can’t have your coconut cake and eat it too!

Stay connected

Even though the hotel was fully wired to internet hotspots, there were certain areas on the premises where the signal may not be as strong, or times where both editor Rebecca Lewis and I weren’t available because we were on stage.

This made it a little troublesome for our Singaporean team members to get in touch with us, so we made sure they often knew in advance the times we were going to be hard to reach, and an alternative method of getting in touch in case we needed us for something.

There were a few attendees who had to pop out of the day’s agenda to take a call, or attend a meeting for an hour or so, but always made it a point to let someone on the events team know – saving us the trouble of searching for them around the hotel in a panicky frenzy.

How do you manage your workload and time when you’re working outside the office?

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Sabrina Zolkifi
Deputy editor
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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