Saving Time for Solo Executive Directors
Last Friday, 14 solo executive directors from the U.S., U.K., and Canada (E.D.’s without much in the way of staff help) joined me on a special teleconference to explore strategies to streamline their work day. The goal? Saving 4 hours per week. I crammed a lot of info into the session. Although you may not be a “solo” E.D., chances are that many of my suggestions will also help you. So, I’ve put together a few highlights from my “17 Time-Sucking Vampires And How Leaders Can Slay Them.”
#4: Trying to access content not in the cloud. Information that is locked in a program installed at work is no good when you’re on the go. Switch to online versions of your various software (even if it costs more) so you can get the info when you need it. Store files online via Dropbox or Google Drive.
#5: Scheduling meetings. The “I can do Friday at 3 p.m. or Tuesday at 4; what’s good for you”? back-and-forth is maddening. Huge time-waster. For $8 a month, do what I do. I use Calendly.com and post my availability. Then people can book me directly. x.ai is also good. This alone saves me more than an hour per week.
#9: Social media. Sadly, there is no longer any perfect combination of word punctuation, pictures of kittens, etc. to make a post do well on social media. On Facebook, it’s now pay-to-play for marketing posts. Budget at least the same amount for Facebook ads/boosts as you currently pay monthly for your email marketing software. Write fewer posts, and pay for all of them. Pay to reach only people who have indicated a preference for your organization (for example, by liking your page). I no longer trust Facebook’s “and their friends” option. I REALLY don’t trust Facebook’s specific targeting to people who, for example, say they like “jazz” and live in a specific geographic area. Turn your focus to getting new likes to your page (for example, have you ever sent an email to your list specifically asking people to like you on Facebook?). Then pay to reach only those people, not their friends, and not the general public.
#12: Gathering consensus with your board, staff, etc. Rather than making strategy a group decision, trust yourself. Give people something to react to, rather than ask them to paint with a blank canvas. Come up with your plan, share it, and ask for improvements, not feedback or permission.
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This week’s mission:
Often, we carry out our tasks without thinking stopping to ask if there is a better way. This week, let’s clear some space for you. If I were to ask you, “What tasks take the most time, that you also hate doing,” I’m sure a few instantly come to mind. Pick one, and do what it takes to:
Stop doing it altogether, or
Change the process so it takes less time (leverage technology, simplify the process, set a timer to remind you to increase your speed, do it at a different time when there are fewer distractions, etc.), or
Assign it to someone else (either a staff person, a board member, a volunteer, etc.)
You must make room for the new, by constantly clearing out the old. Have a great week.