Are you a stressed out, busy volunteer running a sports association? Help is on the way! You can improve your management process and save your sanity by following these 8 Time-Saving Ways that will keep you better organized, reduce your stress level, and get more input and involvement from others. Let's get started...
Take time to plan.
Take time upfront to create a general plan or outline of the outcomes expected. Work with others on the plan so that you have buy-in early on. Break large items into smaller elements and then work on each element rather than trying to work an entire problem or issue at once. To avoid angst and arguments, don’t treat a plan like an anchor. Plans should be re-evaluated based on real-life outcomes. If the plan is increase concession revenues and burger prices are raised $1..then sales plummet…be open to changing tactics and the plan!
Block out time.
As volunteers, the largest part of the day will be spent on non-sports related activities (Your paying job!). However, your work and personal life will gobble up all your time if left to their own hungry ways. To be effective block out time for sports related duties just as if they were part of your paying job. Otherwise your day will end and the sports tasks will go undone.
Save sports materials in a central place.
Today we have access to multiple computing devices… a work PC, a personal PC, a tablet, a mobile device, or the PC in the hotel business center. The common connection is the internet. A best practice is to make heavy use of Google Docs, which allow documents, spreadsheets, and presentations to be stored online. By using Google Docs and Google Drive, no matter where you are, you and others have access to your sports materials. Google Docs and Google Drive can even be password protected for greater security and confidentiality. Storing your materials "in the cloud" also helps with board member transition as data and information does not need to be located and transferred off personal devices.
Keep contacts handy.
One of my personal failings is that I frequently neglect to save someone’s contact information. All too often I have it, but it is buried in a string of emails. Take time upon receipt or when starting a new board position to save vendors’, board members’, coaches’, facility managers’, and other key individuals’ contact information into your phone and in an online contact folder (see # 3 above). You will save time and stress by not scrambling to find an email or phone number when needed.
Talk more. Text Less.
While humans are now completely addicted to email and texting, one would be amazed at how much can get done on a good old fashioned phone call. The two-way communication allows for immediate feedback, confirmation, alteration. Next time you are dismayed at how long it is taking to get something done, get on the phone to expedite the process!
Use drive time.
If your commute to work is long, or if you have significant windshield time between appointments, utilize that time for calls (see #5 above) to follow up on sports related issues and duties. Take care to talk and drive responsibly. If local laws proscribe a hands-free only policy, please comply. Use the voice memo feature of your smart phone to dictate ideas, thoughts, to-dos, etc while driving. It keeps your eyes on the road and your progress moving.
The ultimate time saver is to have someone else help complete a task, if not completely take over the task. You are not superhuman! Do not attempt to do everything on your own. You will only be left fatigued and frustrated. Worse, no one wants be known as a “ball hog,” so get others involved whenever possible. As Ronald Reagan famously said, “trust but verify,” which means assign tasks to others but make sure you check on progress to avoid surprises. Here's a great article from Forbes on how to improve delegation.
Daisy chain tasks.
Busy days can lead to unintended forgetfulness. Harness the power of your online calendar by daisy chaining tasks. When you book a meeting to discuss a matter, immediately book one or more future follow up points. Use the recurring feature to make this an even easier task. In this way you will automatically remind yourself at a future point to follow up and people will be amazed at your organizational skills and productivity.
Staying organized and in control is actually a lot easier than you think, but it takes perseverance and commitment. As Benjamin Franklin said, "if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." So plan on incorporating these 8 ways to save time when managing your sports association and your plans will be more successful and productive as a result.