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SIGNATURE PAULA MAREE



EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT. WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM A FLIGHT ATTENDANT!


Feel like you are drowning in a never-ending ‘To Do’ list? Life can be extremely hectic and sometimes it feels like there are never enough hours in the day. Cabin crew are highly-skilled in multi-tasking and effective time management. So here are some tips on things that you can learn from a Flight Attendant to help you manage he stress without screaming at everybody!


Patience is a virtue. Especially if you are a Flight Attendant!

But in our crazy busy modern world, this can be easy to forget! We all rush around in our daily lives, focused on what we need to get done that day. And often we end up getting stressed out about it. So it seems that no matter what you do for work, highly effective time management is extremely important.


When I first applied to be a Flight Attendant I was attracted to the travel perks. However, upon completing the initial training, I soon realized that the job was going to be a lot more challenging than I’d first anticipated!

Shift work, for starters, was a challenge for me, since I’m definitely not a morning person! So time management to get me out of bed and out the door in the early hours of the morning was just the beginning of the daily struggle. At this point, the reality of the role also hit me.

Contrary to popular perception, Flight Attendants are not employed to pour your coffee! We are, in fact, on board to save your life, if god-forbid the worst should happen and an emergency situation unfolds.


Flight Attendants are trained to prepare the cabin for an emergency and to evacuate passengers as quickly as possible (…ideally in less than 90 seconds!)

We are trained to respond to a rejected take-off, to assist in a decompression of the cabin and to quickly fight a fire if it breaks out on board. Plus, we are qualified in first aid and have a duty of care to respond when a passenger is unwell. This happens quite frequently in a pressurised cabin, so we are often the first to respond to life-threatening conditions where time is of the essence!


Not to mention, the challenge of on-time performance, since everybody wants to depart and get to the destination on time.

Therefore, the cabin crew must work together to ensure effective time management prior to departure. So next time you attempt to argue with a Flight Attendant about where you want to sit or where you want to stow your bag, please remember we are just doing our job and trying to keep you safe!


At all times during boarding, disembarking and inflight, Flight Attendants are also scanning the aircraft for potential dangers.

We are focused on your safety and must adhere to a strict schedule of security checks (which we complete discreetly so most passengers wouldn’t ever notice). Even when it looks like we are just serving tea or coffee, there is actually quite a long list of other tasks on our to-do list! In fact, multi-tasking is what we do best!


Coordinating a cabin for landing is actually quite complex and requires highly efficient time management skills.

Despite juggling a lot of deadlines in my marketing role, I was usually able to post phone a meeting or negotiate a print deadline extension. When necessary, I could even pull an all-nighter to get ready for a major product launch or presentation if I really needed to get it done. But as part of the Flight Attendant job, we are at the mercy of air traffic control and the general public! Therefore, if the pilots tell us we have just twenty minutes until landing, they mean it and we must be ready.


This means we need spring into action and work efficiently as a team to complete the inflight service and collect all of the trash.

We must conduct a catering stocktake and process the banking. When flying internationally we must completed quarantine procedures and prepare arrival documentation. Then, we must check that all passengers have vacated the lavatories. That they have safely secured their bags, stowed their tray tables and put their seatbacks upright. And most importantly, that all passengers have fastened their seatbelts. Including infants and children throwing a temper tantrum who have no concept of time restraints!


And when we have finally managed to get everyone seated, we must secure our galleys and then be seated ourselves- often with only minutes to spare.

All with the added pressure of know that if we can’t achieve this we will be put in holding pattern because the cabin is not secure. Therefore, we must work together as team and we often have to delegate tasks. After all, this is absolutely necessary – to avoid having to explain to a plane full of passengers why their flight will be arriving late!


Working as Flight Attendant has been a lot more challenging than I’d expected and I can honestly say that stewardesses deserve more credit! It truly does take a lot of patience.


It’s actually quite challenging most days and as a result, I’ve now gained more effective time management skills.

I’m also better at prioritizing tasks, so I’m now able to juggle work and an intensive fitness routine. Plus, I still find the time to catch up with my friends after work for coffee or lunch (or dinner and wine!). Life is all about balance and effective time management will help you to have more free time for the things you actually enjoy!


Time management is something that you must learn to put into practice each and every day. Procrastination will not achieve anything and will ultimately only increase your stress levels! Learn to delegate tasks where possible and be as patient as possible. It will pay off, I promise!


5 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT!


1. Write a ‘To Do’ List – or at least be clear on what you are trying to get done!


2. Identify what is most urgent and prioritize the most important tasks.


3. Delegate tasks where possible or when necessary!


4. Be patient but remain pro-active.


5. Don’t Procrastinate! It gets you nowhere and will only leave your feeling stressed out when a deadline is looming.



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