We’ve heard it more than once, “I don’t have enough time in the day to get everything accomplished.”  Working in the chamber world is one of the most rewarding, exciting, and challenging jobs one can have.  We are the “go-to” organization for so many answers to questions, and we are expected to be at every event, meeting, represent business at all governmental levels and more.

In order to check off at least one item on my to-do list, and yes I still make lists on a piece of paper. Here are a few ideas that might help others wade through the piles that stack up on our desks.

One, make a list of things to do the next day before you go home.  With that list, make a box and check it off when you finish the project, it feels good to have accomplished something.

Two, have a journal and carry at all times.  Write down your action items that you are responsible for while attending a meeting.  Keep a separate notebook for taking notes so you can place the paper in the appropriate file.

For your desk, touch a piece of paper only twice, pick it up, either file it, trash it or do what is needed to complete why it is on your desk.

Turn off all email alerts, pop-ups divert your attention, the “whistle” notification causes one to pause and look at the email.  Stay focused and eat the elephant one bite at a time.  Quick tasks feel good but the larger picture items will hang over your head and leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Shut your door, open door policies are great unless you are on a deadline.

Allow your staff to have access to your calendar so they can help book meetings with members and other officials.  However, block out time that is for you, allowing you to focus on whatever the project at hand needs your undivided attention.

Delegate and reward your staff, celebrate successes.  The chamber is a team and the number one reason people leave a job is because they don’t feel appreciated.  The best management advice I was once told by my college roommate who now oversees John Deere’s Latin America operations, “My people are there to make me look good, and I am there to remove the barriers so they can accomplish that.”  Simple and so true.

On your calendar have some personal time to take a daily walk, stretch, deep breaths, meditate, whatever you need to do to “check in” with yourself.  If you feel guilty that you are taking some personal time that is a good thing, it probably means you are doing something good for yourself.  An engine can only sustain itself at 110 miles per hour before it blows up.

I hope these ideas are helpful, I have to admit, do I as I say, not as I do.  However, I can now check that box that says “write blog for CCCE.

Jack

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