Conquer Busy Schedules by Maximizing Your Personal Efficiency
Most association board members are busy people. In addition to their board service, most have full-time jobs, as well as a wide array of personal commitments that demand their attention. Despite straining their calendars and adding items to their to-do lists, board members still find time to volunteer for their associations.

Audrey Thomas, a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) best known as Organized Audrey, offers busy association board members some suggestions to help them get more done with less stress.

Shut Off Electronic Notifications

Studies show that email notification alerts get a response 70 percent of the time within 6 seconds, which is less time than it takes for your phone to ring three times. In other words, notifications are very effective interruptions. Calendar appointment reminders are another form of electronic interruption. Mobile phones interrupt us with beeps, vibrations and flashing lights. Manage these technologies by turning off the unnecessary notifications—and the unnecessary interruptions.

Clean Up Your Physical and Electronic Space

Clutter is a distraction, so having a messy office will only contribute to having less focus. Take time to sort and purge stacks of paper sitting on, under or around your desk. If you have “stuff” that’s been taking up space, find a home for it. Secondly, exit (not just minimize) all computer programs except the ones you need to work in for a specific project. This will provide better opportunity for focus and less temptation to jump in between projects.

Improve Your Email Etiquette

Even though email is regarded by some as an informal means of communication, it is still important to follow standard etiquette guidelines when using it. And these will not only shorten your workday, will also the workday of your colleagues.

The Dos:
  1. Make subject lines descriptive and meaningful
  2. Get to the point of your email within the first two sentences
  3. Only send emails to those who need them
  4. Read and proof every message before hitting send
  5. Put requests in bulleted or numbered format, along with deadlines
  6. Pick up the phone when you need a quick response
The Don’ts:
  1. Over-use the high-importance symbol
  2. Require read receipts unnecessarily
  3. Send emails that simply say “got it,” “thanks,” or “FYI”
  4. Send long, rambling emails
  6. Hit “reply to all” when only the original sender needs a response
  7. Use text-messaging abbreviations
Interruptions are part of office atmospheres, and they will always be there. But taking proactive steps to minimize them will help you take control of your personal productivity.
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Board Forward is published 10 times a year by SmithBucklin, the association management and services company more organizations turn to than any other. SmithBucklin has served volunteer board members for 70 years.


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