In association management companies (AMCs), we can often find ourselves in a time crunch trying to finish client projects at the last minute. In my role as association coordinator for an AMC that manages associations, staying on top of four or more associations can at times be overwhelming and stressful. Not only do I need to ensure the needs of our association clients’ board members are met, but also the needs of all of their members too.
I often find myself thinking that every task on my list should be my #1 priority, but after some analysis and proper review of deadlines, I realize that some tasks require more immediate attention than others. I have put together a list of considerations for you, as someone who works with association clients, to take to better prioritize your time and organize your daily tasks.
Write Down your To-Do List
Every Monday morning when coming into work, I look through my emails, documents and lists to make a master list of all the things that need to be dealt with for the week.
Figure out Deadlines
Looking at all the tasks on my to-do list, I prioritize each by deadline. This lets me know which tasks are more urgent, which require immediate attention, and which can be dealt with later in the week. Keep in mind, of course, that all tasks are important, but some may be more urgent than others.
Decide the Importance of Each Task
When organizing my week on a task-based schedule I also look at which tasks are deemed more important the rest. As an Association Coordinator, I work with four or more associations and each of those brings revenue into our company. Therefore, if I can delay any internal tasks and prioritize tasks related to our clients, that is what I try to do.
Estimate the Time Each Task will Take
The next point I take into consideration is which tasks will take more time and concentration, and which will be easier and quicker to get out of the way. I find it helpful to start any tasks that may take more time in the morning because I have more concentration when first coming to work. Approximately an hour before heading out for lunch, I usually answer emails and take care of small tasks. Right after lunch, I tend to jump into lengthy tasks again and then finish the day off with short and simple tasks. Rotating throughout the day keeps me attentive and makes my day run smoothly.
At the end of the day we are all human, and everyone knows we simply cannot finish everything we want in just one day. Therefore, we need to know when to cut certain tasks off our list and move them to a different day. Overloading our systems may cause fatigue and stress, which can affect our work capacity. Humans are like computers: after a while we need to recharge and reboot ourselves. Setting aside those tasks that we know may push us over our limit is probably a good idea, because being overwhelmed can lead to performing at a lower level then we normally do. Change is bound to happen throughout the week and even throughout the day, so you must be ready at any given moment to move around your schedule, always making sure to keep your main tasks on your to-do list.
Prioritizing your day at an association management company is not always a simple task. It can get confusing at times. And even once your week is organized on a day-by-day basis, it can still be tough to manage. Finding time to get everything done can also be hard because we all know changes can happen throughout the day. Tasks can be added, and others might be removed, and emergencies may arise. Knowing which tasks take more time and which ones need to be done first will help you keep everything in order.
Meeting deadlines is extremely important as an association coordinator because you have clients depending on your work being completed on time. My self-motivation and constant determination to perform the best that I can pushes me in the right direction. I may start out in the morning feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but at the end of the day I always feel accomplished and amazed at the amount of work I can accomplish between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. This feeling keeps me fueled and ready to take on the rest of the week as the days go by. I am confident that I can get everything done when I have properly scheduled and prioritized my weekly and daily tasks. For more on keeping your association to-do list organized, visit our other blog articles: Board Meeting Action Items – How to Effectively Manage the Never-Ending List and The Role of the Administrative Support in an Association Office.