As an apprentice, you combine full-time working with education. You are gaining work experience and a relevant qualification. You may have just left further education, uni or even made a career change. Whatever your work or education experience, managing your time can present challenges. To help, we have put together some top tips to help you manage your daily duties, assessment plans, and apprenticeship training.
Starting your day
If you can, arrive a few minutes early, giving you time to hang up your coat, say good morning to your colleagues, grab a tea or coffee and prepare for your day whilst your computer is loading.
Each week, look at your daily tasks. Create a ‘To Do’ list of your tasks for each day and prioritise them. Don’t forget your 20% off the job learning. Make a plan to manage your time spent on specific tasks, review them each day, and re-prioritise if needed.
Tools that can help are task manager on your outlook account, or if your company has Microsoft 365, you can use Microsoft to Do, which links events in your calendar and even picks up keywords from your emails to prompt you. Trello, My Hours, and Google are other ways to manage and tick off your To-Dos.
Allow half an hour in your daily schedule for unforeseen tasks.
Tick off the tasks as you go, you will feel more positive, and it will give you a sense of achievement as the week progresses.
Remain focussed and avoid distraction
Remove any distractions, starting with your phone (oh no, we hear you say). If you don’t want to put your phone in a draw or turn off notifications from your social pages, some apps can help, such as Forestapp, which allows you to work without distraction and also has a positive environmental impact. If you don’t use your phone, you’ll grow a tree; a real one is planted for each tree grown on your phone.
If you are working in an open office, with background noise, particularly in a sales environment, or if the radio is often on and you find this distracting, ask if you can use noise-cancelling headphones.
Stay on top of your emails
If you are office, home or hybrid based, you will be using email. If you are focused on a task, or an email comes in late in the day or at a time you can’t respond immediately, flag it. You can then search flags the next day without sifting your inbox. If you have customer emails and can’t respond immediately, aim to respond within a couple of hours max.
Try to clear your inbox each day from non-relevant advertising emails; this will avoid the number of unread emails piling up in your inbox, which, if left, can take hours rather than minutes to clear.
Once a week, clear spam and block unsolicited emails so you won’t receive them again.
Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind
To tidy up your desk each day. It’s tempting to leave handwritten notes, lists, and paperwork on your desk as a reminder or perhaps you are rushed. But you should clear your desk every day; not only will you have a clear desk to start the next working day, but you also avoid the risk of leaving out information that might be confidential to the business.
If you don’t have a draw, use a binder or folder and leave it out of view in a place you can find it the next day. Use online tools as reminders where you can, as this will also help you move towards a paperless business environment.
Ask for support
If your workload is getting on top of you. Please do not leave it to build-up. You are an apprentice, and you are developing into a role. Ask for support from your line manager or your training provider to help and guide you through your apprenticeship.
If you are struggling with assignments or off the job learning or are not sure what work-based evidence counts towards your off the job hours, speak to your training provider or mentor who will guide and help you resolve any issues, this will save you time and make sure you don’t fall behind on your work.
Don’t wait until your next training session to raise these issues. As training providers, we are there to make sure you keep on track and succeed. Your employer wants you to be confident in your role, achieve and enjoy your apprenticeship with them, so if you feel you need help – ask for it.
09 Nov 2021