Any member of a military staff will admit there are times when they feel that inefficiencies are unnecessarily consuming time, and hindering their ability to get important work done. This humorous yet highly relevant and useful article via ‘The Military Leader’, offers excellent advice and tips to improve productivity by making adjustments to some of your methods.
First, the article discusses ways of improving email communication. Examples include using a Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF), setting rules to prioritise emails and allocating dedicated time to emails rather than allowing email to be a constant distraction.
The article then discusses ways to save time when printing. How often have you spent time printing numerous handouts to accompany a brief and yet they are hardly touched? The author highlights that commanders or branch heads should be clear on their requirement for handouts/agendas/briefs for meetings.
Then the article moves onto meetings, offering the recommendation to develop ‘read-ahead’ packs to reduce time and increase effectiveness of meetings. The article raises the common time consuming comment of ‘Got a minute?’, which often turns into a lengthy time away from your tasks.
A number of quick fixes to improve work efficiency are then discussed. Examples include product standardisation, turning off the 24/7 news, and setting reminders.
The article concludes with ‘The Golden Staff Rule’. Staff need to ensure that, prior to publishing an order or issuing guidance, they ask whether the order or guidance provides more questions than answers.
This light hearted article offers wise words of wisdom based on the experience of working on a staff. Improving time management, especially with the menial tasks, enables you to focus on the more important tasks associated with your role in supporting your commander.