Time Management and Delegation Helpful Skills for Boards

Since it's a common belief that the best way to get something done is to give it to a busy person, it's often the busiest shareholders and unit owners that are elected to serve on the board. How do they find the time to add yet another responsibility to their already full plates? Many busy people in all walks of life from high-powered executives to full-time homemakers—are relying more than ever on time management and delegation techniques to get (almost!) everything done.

Managing a Hectic Schedule

"I knew all about time management before I was elected board president," says a shareholder at a 60-unit Queens co-op. "But I was always too busy to stop long enough to incorporate what I had heard into my daily routine." According to this harried shareholder, once he began serving on the board, he had no choice but to apply some basic time management principles in all areas of his life, including his board responsibilities.

Now he sets a starting time and deadline for every project, has trimmed the "fat" from his schedule by dropping low pay-off activities and incorporated the mantra "do it now" into his vocabulary. He also blocks out a time period for certain activities—such as making phone calls or filing—rather than performing these tasks throughout the day. And he looks for—and finds—tasks that could be delegated to others. "It's hard to believe," says the board president, "but since I've started doing these things, I actually feel like I have more time now than I did before I was serving on the board."

Prioritizing Tasks

Time management experts agree that the first step is to take a look at what's on your plate. According to Day-Timers, Inc., the Allentown, Pennsylvania company known for its appointment books, calendars and planning tools, if you take ten minutes a day to plan your day, you can save up to an hour of execution. According to 10 Timebuster Tips—a handy guide that Day-Timers includes with the purchase of some of its products—you can gain time in your schedule by making a list of everything you need to do today and then numbering each item in order of priority. Distinguish between urgent and important items, but be sure to make time for the latter.

You can begin implementing time management techniques right away. "Take five to ten minutes right now to ask 'what do I need to do?' " suggests time management expert Henry Barbey, a business and personal coach in Manhattan who co-founded The E Group, a training and development firm that aims to boost performance and effectiveness. "Planning is a basic fundamental. You don't want to start the week without an overview," explains Barbey. "Ask yourself what hats you—and the board—will be wearing this week. Are you dealing with maintenance, the building manager, a boiler repair? You may be wearing one hat or many hats as a group or individual." After weekly tasks have been determined and prioritized, you can schedule blocks of time during the week to accomplish objectives.

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