Time Management Lessons From The Radio

Radio Station Time Management

(Or, How I learned to love the work day and throw my hour (hands) away.)

When I started college at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, I worked at the campus radio station. What I learned there has stuck with me through every single job I’ve had since.

We had a clock in the studio that didn’t have an hour hand–it only had a minute hand!

Since most of us were new and hadn’t even folded our FCC licenses yet, our station manager (and our grade-wielding professor) made things easy for us. He wrote on the face of that clock the things that had to happen every hour. From 5am when we went on the air, until midnight, every hour had its requirements:

  • :00 – Station identification and news/weather
  • :12-15ish – TALK: Repeat Weather and PSA
  • :20-22ish – Sports promo and PSA
  • :30 – TALK: What is coming up and thank people for listening
  • :38-40ish – PSA and college commercial
  • :46-50 – TALK: News is coming up and thank people

And there it is. One hour in the life of a WISU radio DJ.

What does this have to do with selling shoes, pastoral counseling, or making web pages (all of the jobs I’ve had since the radio station), you may ask? It helps my time management by chopping up my day.

Instead of viewing every day as a large task, try viewing it as several cycles.

For the first 25 minutes of the hour, focus on what you’re doing that hour and don’t look away until it’s time to talk and thank somebody for that block of time. Look at what is coming up in the next half hour, and then execute it.

As you pass the quarter-till mark, check your water intake, how much blood is pumping through your coffee system? Take a few minutes to refresh and relieve yourself. Look over what the next hour holds. Edit as necessary, identify yourself and your station, and go for it.

Some people might see this as a cousin to the Pomodoro Technique and it is similar. The only difference here, of course, is that you are letting the clock call the shots of what to do and when to do it instead of your flexible timer.

Give it a try, throw away your hour hand, and I’ll see you by the coffee pot at 5 minutes til the top of the hour.