Claudine Adeyemi is a force to be reckoned with.
A full-time lawyer, dealing with property lawsuits at Mishcon de Reya, she has been qualified for four years and also works as a social mobility ambassador for The Law Society where she mentors young people. She also co-leads a ‘Women in Law’ series, which aims to share stories of women working in the law sector and is a trustee for The Employment Network, helping companies with their diversity initiative.
Claudine has also just been nominated as an Ethnic Minority Future Leader in the Financial Times and has run The Student Development Company for four years which helps young people into the world of work. As part of The Student Development Company, she has recently launched Career Ear, a mobile app where young people can gain easy access to career advice, after obtaining funding from O2 and Go Think Big.
“The funding was huge. We wouldn’t have been able to do what we did without it” she explained. “We were able to shoot the videos, get costs down for the app and run the event.”
On top of the funding, Claudine also felt she developed her own skills through her Go Think Big involvement. “I learnt all about running something and more importantly, re-evaluating it and growing it to have more impact. It was also super useful to be around like minded people, being a part of that movement was incredible.”
Claudine is super busy (as you probably guessed), but we managed to ask her how she balances a jam-packed law career with a 9-5 role. Here are her tips in case you’re thinking of doing something similar…
1. List, list, list.
Claudine is list-tastic. “I’m pretty obsessed with having a to-do list, not just at work but also in my personal life. It will be put into my Outlook calendar at work and on the calendar on my phone.” Claudine also makes sure she puts in personal errands and social activities so these don’t get forgotten. “I’ll also write down when I need to do chores, see friends, meet my mentees. I use an app called Todoist, and then for anything career related or project planning, I have been using Trello for the last few months. It allows me to visualise what I want to achieve long term, I’m definitely not an expert in it but I’m trying!”
Check those out, but also research other apps that might be more useful for you.
Everyone has different ways of prioritising, and a nice tool is the Eisenhower Matrix which Claudine uses (see below).
“It’s useful to categorize which tasks are urgent and which are important. Sometimes it’s easier to get the smaller, urgent stuff out of the way” she said. “But when you forward plan, it’s useful to take your time, looking at each thing and thinking what needs to be done first and why, what’s the consequence of it being done later.”
3. Research the best things for you
Of course, Outlook, apps, matrixes are always great tools and who knows, you might work best with a combination of two or three methods, or something different altogether.
Claudine says, aptly; “there are heaps of stuff out there. Just Google ‘top tips’ on time management, it’s always worth reading a few different things to find out what’s best for you – to do lists aren’t for everyone!” (Even though they’re Claudine’s fave!)
The trouble with time management is sustaining it. It’s great to research those methods that work for you, but what will really make a difference is keeping momentum up.
When we first do things, it’s a novelty and that excites us, but when that novelty wears off – that’s when maintaining momentum is the hardest. Claudine says, to “habitualise the things that work for you. Make it a part of your every day, rather than seeing it as chore, think of it as normal as brushing your teeth.”
5. Learn how to switch off
Claudine loves going on holiday – and she makes sure she doesn’t bring the office with her. “I like to switch off when I go away. I will always put an out of office on and won’t take my work phone with me. I’m still trying to strike a balance on this” she said.
She also tries to make sure she isn’t out every single night, “there will always be an event to go to, but sometimes it’s about making sure you have space to breathe and space to think – take time for yourself – it’s important to take time for yourself.”
Claudine also suggests that it’s good to have someone who will encourage you to do this, she says; “it’s corny but I’ll call my dad when I’m working too much because I know he’ll tell me to take a break and take it easy.”
It’s not a bad idea to have a friend or family member to call on when things get too much, especially when you can’t say it to yourself because you’re always raring to go!
6. Have a flexible routine
When you’re in full-time employment, it can be difficult to fit your own dreams alongside this.
Claudine says her routine varies dramatically depending on what’s happening at work – but she is an early riser which helps her fit loads in.
“I generally up at 5 to spend time on The Student Development Company, always at work by 9:30 – sometimes I’ll get there earlier. Then when I come home, I do stuff for The Student Development Co. in the evening. However, sometimes it’s just not sustainable to do that every day!”
It’s really important to unwind and to listen to your body if it’s tired or overworked. Claudine has her own way of winding down; “sometimes I just take time to watch Eastenders!”
7. Find your motivations
Although Claudine has pretty much always been organized, even when she was younger, she definitely thinks she’s gotten a lot more precise with her skills as she’s gotten older.
For those who find themselves at the opposite end of this spectrum, i.e. someone who has never been organised, Claudine suggests that it’s all about finding out what motivates you. She says, “You can make better progress and achieve more if you know why you’re doing it. If you can identify what could be improved then that would give you the motivation to get organised and stick with it.”
For Claudine, her motivations have been clear to her for a long time, “Seeing people from my background aspiring to be whatever they want to be should have the right platforms to be able to do whatever they want – no young person should go without that. I made it to my dream career and that comes with a duty to give back.”
SLEEP. Okay, this isn’t the easiest one, especially if you’re dealing with insomnia or you just struggle to switch your brain off.
Claudine tries to aim for about 6-7 hours’ sleep a night, – “I do struggle if not,” she adds.
It’s important to wind down, that could mean switching off phones at least half an hour before bed, Claudine admits to not always doing this, but she does say, “I put my phone on flight mode when I do go to sleep or watch an episode of Eastenders to ease my brain. So just try different things and see what works best for you.”
If you’re really struggling with sleep, then you can try out this form of mindfulness called a ‘body scan’. It gets you to really wind down and focus on how your body feels.
“Set goals, achieve, repeat.” This is Claudine’s motto for life – and she pretty much lives by it.
She says; “I’ve always been quite a driven person and goal orientated, I tend to work really hard at achieving that particular thing. I like how it’s cyclical.” (So that explains why Claudine just keeps achieving, excelling and raising the game).
Claudine is a big believer in managing your time and using it efficiently. “The most important thing to me in life is my time. Especially saving my time for things that are important to me, which you lose if you can’t manage your time.”
Lastly, Claudine emphasizes the importance of time management – “If you can excel at time management, it means you can get things done and buy time for yourself. It is, after all, the most important commodity that anyone has.”
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