Municipality employees and BID/SID managers finding yourself in a constant time crunch? Time is one of our few non-renewable assets so it’s critical to set rules for time management to be able to experience more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
Here are six easy to implement time saving strategies to consider…
1) Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers
Feel free to surprise others, but don’t be surprised. It just results in unwanted interruption and leaves you in a poor negotiating position. Let it go to voicemail and respond when you are ready.
2) Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night
The former scrambles your priorities for the day and the latter just gives you insomnia. Plan out when you WILL check your email and focus on that. Anything that requires more than 5 minutes of your attention? Add it to your task list for later and move to the next email. Email can easily wait until after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items. Go ahead, try it!
3) Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
If the desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics/questions to cover, then your meeting or call will more likely achieve the desired results. Request an agenda in advance so you can prepare and make good use of the time together.
4) Do not let people ramble
I know, it’s hard, you feel like you’re being rude. But there’s a good chance the person on the other end is just as busy as you and trying to get on with their day as well. So forget “how’s it going?” when someone calls you. Stick with “what’s up?” or “I’m in the middle of getting something out, but what can I help you with?”
5) Do not check e-mail constantly – “batch” and check at set times only
It’s so important, we’re saying it again. Focus on the execution of your top to-dos instead of responding to manufactured emergencies. Set up appointments with yourself to check emails during the day. Two or three times a day is often enough. Seriously, try it.
6) Do not work more to fix overwhelm, prioritize instead
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, very little else will feel urgent or important. Often, it’s just a matter of letting a few small bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose an unreasonable customer, etc.) to get the big important things done. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates – doing more – it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your work and life.
It’s hip to focus on getting things done but it’s only possible once we remove the constant distractions. If you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on eliminating or minimizing things you should not be doing. Different method, same end. Your fellow township employees, BID/SID board members, and local businesses will ultimately benefit from your new-and-improved ability to focus.