Story contributed by Andrew Allgeier, district executive from the Greater Wyoming Council
My name is Andrew. I’m a district executive with a camp assignment, and I struggle managing my time. There, I said it out loud. It took years, some very serious feedback from family and friends, and a serious dose of humility to admit it.
Balancing your time in a large district (or multiple district) assignment can be challenging enough. Throwing in a camp assignment makes it even more difficult. Owning up to this has allowed me to overhaul how I manage my time and become much more effective. I have slowly (and at times reluctantly) implemented a few time management strategies to make it a little easier.
Time Management Strategies That Work for Me
I start by developing a yearly calendar for both the district and camp. I list the major tasks and objectives month by month. Keep in mind this should be a living list, but it won’t change much after the first two years. These are big picture items, not small tasks. Monthly goals and objectives are revisited at the very beginning of every month in a monthly day of planning. Yes, a whole day devoted to planning and scheduling!
Every Monday morning, I take 30-45 minutes to schedule my week. This is done in half hour blocks. I like to draft on paper and then input into my Outlook work calendar. Be sure to schedule personal or family time first. As part of the “fine” level of scheduling, be sure to include at least 30 minutes of flex/makeup time in each work day. This gives flexibility and helps me keep up with a schedule that gets interrupted by unplanned calls, emergencies, etc.
During big tasks, close your email and put away your phone. Utilize 60-90 minutes of uninterrupted, undistracted time to do only the scheduled task. I also recommend scheduling dedicated time for calls and email every day to keep up with incoming communication.
Of course, there are always more tasks and projects than any one person can accomplish. Enable/empower your volunteers to help share the load. They want to help. Keep a printed list of volunteer names on your wall to refer to if needed. Give them a task with specific parameters, a clearly defined goal and timeline and let them help. Always thank and recognize them for their work.
Additionally, I try to make the most of road time by making calls on the road, if possible. Please use a hands-free calling option! My council has also used the Zoom meeting system to help limit road time for both professionals and volunteers. A pro account is a smart investment once you start adding up savings from reimbursed mileage not used.
Another helpful tip: when you schedule meetings, cut your meeting times in half. You’ll be amazed at how your team can accomplish the same amount of work in the time allotted! This cuts down on non-necessary conversations. Every meeting must have start and end times AND an agenda.
Hopefully at least one of these ideas will help you to make the most of your time.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Andrew Allgeier for contributing this post.