Ready to Fall Back and Gain an Hour?
If you work in a busy financial aid office, you know that finding extra time in your day can be a challenge. And although the end of Daylight Saving Time in November will provide you with a bonus hour over the weekend, we have some additional time management tips to share with you.
- Have a plan when you come in to the office. Quickly re-evaluate that plan based on new priorities when you first arrive, and then get started.
- Do the most important task first so you’re sure the most essential things get accomplished before you get sidetracked by other tasks.
- Use 20-minute bursts to focus on accomplishing a given task. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted during that time, and you’ll be surprised by how much you can get done with the undivided attention on one thing.
- Give yourself a deadline for completing everything. Leaving tasks open-ended gives you permission to let them drag on.
- Establish a clock-out time at which you’re going to stop working. Your productivity gets a boost when you know what your end time is – and you work more effectively with the limited time you have.
- Batch similar tasks together. For example, handle all your calls during one time frame; it takes time to wind down one type of work and get into another.
- Take breaks to de-stress and recharge your energy. You’ll come back renewed and more productive than if you keep working uninterrupted.
- Write reports as you go. If you need to update statuses or make note of significant things that happen, doing it as you go saves you the hassle of reconstructing and remembering your busy week later on.
- Delegate. If you can’t get it all done, then focus on your strengths and find someone else to take the things that take you longer or don’t come naturally to you.
- Rush the unimportant. Don’t worry about perfection for the small stuff or you won’t have time you need for quality work on the essential tasks.
- Consolidate your notifications so you don’t have to check all your systems and formats to see what’s going on. You may also want to turn off popups such as email notifications that can distract you from the task at hand.
- Set up frequently-used mailing lists. They save you time, repeatedly.
- Schedule only the meeting time you need. Don’t default to an hour if you need 45 minutes or a half-hour if 15 minutes will do.
- Stand up for phone calls. It will encourage you to get to the point more quickly and it’s great for your back health to move and stretch.
- Set up processes that are repeatable–and document them. When you do this, you’re able to delegate processes that work to someone else in your absence or have them handle tasks when you’re overloaded.
- Unsubscribe from emails you don’t need. Who needs the extra clutter?
- Disconnect when you really want to focus on a task. Close your browser, disconnect from your wireless network – whatever it takes for you to focus.
- Use keyboard shortcuts like Quicksilver (for Mac) or Autohotkey for PCs. Use Google tutorials to set these up. With a small investment of time, you can save hours over the course of a month with commonly used shortcuts.
- Use email filters to automatically file and label incoming emails.
- Use a central dashboard like Buffer or HootSuite to manage your social media accounts so you don’t have to go back and forth between your sites if you use multiple social media channels for marketing purposes.
Share Your Ideas
What are your best tips for saving time in the financial aid office? Share them with us and your colleagues at our MyScholarNet LinkedIn group or check out other resources on MyScholarNet.com.