Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio July
Back to Basics
By Louise M. Felsher, CMM, CMP
TOP 10 TIME-SAVING TIPS
Simple ways to spend your days wisely, get the job done
right and still be home for dinner
In the unending quest for balance, efficiency and
accomplishment, planners battle time-wasting behaviors on a daily
basis. With the best intentions to try to please everyone and
answer all questions immediately, we tend to get buried beneath
unread e-mails, unopened mail and unreturned phone messages. The
following tactics should help keep you on track.
It’s all too easy to be in constant contact today. Resist the urge
1. Reduce e-mail. Electronic mail can be an
outstanding time-saver if messages are well crafted and short.
Ideal uses for e-mail are setting up meetings, confirming data, and
transferring and sharing documents. When e-mail is substituted as a
conversation tool or venting apparatus, it often serves as an
instigator of trouble and a time drain on everyone.
The best way to reduce the number of e-mails you get is to send
fewer. Use filters for incoming messages they are easy to set up
and will delete certain items or route mail into folders you can
prioritize later. Dedicate a portion of each day to sorting e-mail
and snail mail.
2. Hang up. Learning how to get off the phone
gracefully is an invaluable art form. A good line: “Look at the
time we should wrap this up.”
If you get unsolicited sales calls for services or products you
will never need, simply reply “We won’t use X, and I don’t want to
waste your time. Please take us off your calling list. Thank you.”
No need to be rude, just firm.
3. Don’t surf. Resist Internet wanderlust. Do
casual surfing from home, so you don’t find yourself inexplicably
behind on work projects.
4. Invest in good tools. Holding on to an
ancient fax machine that takes forever to send a page might cost
you thousands in labor and phone charges. Spending a little can
save a lot.
THE DAILY AGENDA
Analyze how you spend your workday. Chances are, there is room for
5. Manage team size. Confusion and
time-management problems often result when a team is too large or
too small. Large teams can create communication glitches and suffer
from too much or too little leadership. Small teams often are
unable to complete quality work with the given time and resources.
A good formula for a balanced event team: one event leader plus one
project manager per 50 participants.
6. Keep to-do lists. Take the time to delineate
all your tasks preferably the day prior. Categorizing the urgency
of your tasks helps allow for contingencies.
7. Take breaks. Fatigue is the greatest
contributing factor to inefficiency and errors. Get enough sleep.
Walk away from your office occasionally. Take a full lunch hour. Go
home on time.
8. Procrastinate. Sometimes holding off on a
decision saves time particularly if you sense changeis imminent.
Trust your instincts. Problems regularly resolve themselves or
mutate. Reconsider signing a contract immediately or scheduling
meetings that are not urgent.
Appointments that seem the most expendable on your daily calendar
might actually be well worth your while.
9. Take sales calls. Make time for vendors you
might use in the future. Keep the conversation short, and save
business cards. File all data for easy reference as needed.
10. Be social. Choose your social commitments
wisely, but realize that cutting them out completely will create
extra work in the long run. The networking you engage in now will
help later when you can look someone up in your Rolodex who can
solve a problem quickly. Furthermore, your career ladder will
shorten and suffer if you don’t have valuable contacts.Louise M. Felsher, CMM, CMP, is a free-lance
strategic marketing consultant in Northern California’s Silicon
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