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Clerk Smarter, Not Harder - Productivity Tips for Parish and Town Clerks

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Clerk Smarter, Not Harder - Productivity Tips for Parish and Town Clerks

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YOU WILL DISCOVER:

• Task management and prioritisation

• Simple digital tools to improve your productivity

• Wellbeing tips to reduce stress and clear your head

Speaker John Fagan has over 20 years of international experience running and coaching teams of professionals. During this workshop he will share some of his favourite techniques and tools that helped him survive working in high growth businesses.

YOU WILL DISCOVER:

• Task management and prioritisation

• Simple digital tools to improve your productivity

• Wellbeing tips to reduce stress and clear your head

Speaker John Fagan has over 20 years of international experience running and coaching teams of professionals. During this workshop he will share some of his favourite techniques and tools that helped him survive working in high growth businesses.

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Clerk Smarter, Not Harder - Productivity Tips for Parish and Town Clerks

  1. 1. Clerk Smarter, Not Harder By John Fagan, CEO at Scribe Productivity Tips for Parish and Town Clerks
  2. 2. Whats your style of time and task management? Firefighter - constantly putting out "fires", and “busy” working on 10 tasks at once Perfectionist - everything must be perfect. Don't quit while ahead. Time Martyr - fulfill requests from others, instead your own Procrastinator - delay all tasks, and deliver under pressure Distractor - random request is likely to catch your fleeting attention Underestimator - rarely live up to your optimistic deadlines.
  3. 3. …and how are you doing? Missed deadlines Making mistakes Skipping breaks Working overtime Poor work-life balance Always rushing irritable frustrated Unhealthy habits Stressed burnout Lack of concentration Lack of empathy Loss of motivation anxiety Indecisive Poor job satisfaction
  4. 4. I will be sharing 10 Tactics & 10 Tools that will help you Clerk Smarter, Not Harder
  5. 5. #1 Clear Your Mind Basic working principle Get things out of your head When a task enters your mind, immediately store them somewhere else (paper or digitally) for later prioritisation Keep your mind clear so you can reduce stress and anxiety, enabling you to have a clear and focused mind
  6. 6. #1 Do it Serious deadlines or crisis Ideally you want to avoid things getting to this point. #2 Schedule it Tasks aligned with your long-term goals This is where you want to spend most of your time #3 Delegate it Task that often masquerade as #1, give us a false sense of productivity Use assertiveness or software tools to minimise #4 Delete it Distractions that make you feel worse and/or are unproductive Add some of these in the your calendar to end of your day or be assertive about value Urgent Not Important Important Not Urgent #2 Organise your mind using The Eisenhower Matrix
  7. 7. #1 Do it ● Emergency incident - health, legal, security, fire, accident, technical outage ● Scheduled tasks that have a regulatory deadline ● Important enquiries - email, calls ● Onboarding new starter or councillor #2 Schedule it ● Finances - admin, budgeting. forecasting, audit, bank reconciliation, Year-End annual statement, VAT return ● Meetings - Agenda, Minutes & Actions ● Quotes - Insurance, maintenance etc.. ● Communications - email, voicemails, written ● Self improvement - learning, fitness, fresh air, mind space #3 Delegate it ● Lengthy phone calls, discussions and meetings ● Manual or repetitive tasks that can be automated (delegated) to software solutions ● Responding to all enquiries ● Answering frequent questions ● Responding to correspondence that is related to a committee or trust #4 Delete it ● Social media, news & TV ● Eating unhealthy foods because too busy ● Perfectionism and over analysis ● Gossip and speculation ● Responding to frequent complainers / time wasters Urgent Not Important Important Not Urgent #2 The Eisenhower Matrix
  8. 8. ● One rule that breaks the The Eisenhower Matrix priority ● If a task takes 2 minutes, then do it immediately ● Consider the cognitive load/effort for task management… ○ Processing ○ Documenting ○ Scheduling ○ Remembering ● It's quicker to just to get it done immediately #3 Two Minute Rule
  9. 9. Pick out your most important, or worst task (this is your "frog"), Tackle it first thing in the morning (plan it the day before) When you have consumed the "frog", you can move on to other tasks for the day, but not before. Combine with: ● Pareto Analysis - also known as the 80/20 rule) is that 20% of our actions are responsible for 80% of outcomes (your frog) ● Deep work - professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit ● Parkinson’s Law - see next slide #4 Eat that Frog
  10. 10. #5 Combat Parkinson’s Law The law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion Principle highlights our tendency to inefficiency when we have more time than we really need. Set a deadline. Give yourself a set time to do something—and then cut it in half. Create a shorter term meeting with people to discuss the results of your work (before you start the work).
  11. 11. #6 To Don’t list DON’T visit social media between 9-5pm DON’T look at email between 11am-4pm DON’T have meetings longer than 1hr DON’T call family during working hours DON’T leave your phone nearby DON’T spend time gossiping DON’T …….
  12. 12. #7 Follow the 1-3-5 Rule Today I will accomplish… 1 BIG THING (“Eat that Frog”) ● Create and publish meeting minutes 3 MEDIUM THINGS ● Get Insurance quotes ● Attend Clerk Smater, Not Harder training ● Add November transactions and reconcile 5 LITTLE THINGS ● Water the plants ● Meet Jan for a walk ● Review low priority tasks ● Call Cllr Andrews about vandalism incident ● Prepare for tomorrow (‘shutdown ritual’) Tasks lists can be overwhelming and insurmountable Find comfort in the fact you have limited time in a day Try following the 1-3-5 rule Keep your daily to-do list to just those 9 items. If you often get unplanned tasks thrown at you, leave some blank slots Single task focus — try and remain focused on completing your task before moving onto next Combine with: ● Pomodoro Technique - Set a timer (e.g., for 25 mins), focus on the task at hand, take 5 mins break & repeat (take longer breaks after 5 iterations)
  13. 13. Routine makes tasks almost automated Build up healthy habits “5 little things” could be routines Same tasks at same time and days Add these timeboxes to your calendar Types of tasks ● Work - Email, Voicemail, Messages, Social media follow-ups, learning ● Play - Fitness, eating, drinking, sleeping Include Rewards - checking email and having coffee and snack (elevenses) #8 Create timeboxed daily habits
  14. 14. The Best Way to Build New Habits Get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. For each day that you do your task, put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain, and watch it grow each day When you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.” “Don’t break the chain” #9 The Seinfeld Method
  15. 15. #10 Increase self “service” Always constantly think about how you can engineer yourself out of a task Increase the ability for people to find the answer themselves or automate tasks See example (on the right) where a simple email auto reply message provides lots of opportunities for the recipient to “self serve” ● Website FAQ ● Registration forms - google forms ● Community support - Facebook Groups ● Book a meeting - Calend.ly Constantly update your content and links to improve your “hit rate” in enabling recipients to self serve
  16. 16. 10 Tools Delegating to Software (also known as “Digital Transformation” or “Modernising government”)
  17. 17. #1 Use your Voice Assistant Demo to audience Most people have a smartphone or smart device All devices now have a voice assistant. Voice assistants are a great solution to instantly get things out of your head ● Setting reminders ● Remembering things ● Dictating messages/emails Have a play with your voice assistant for work and personal needs. I now use voice assistants daily for managing reminders
  18. 18. #2 Note taking apps Move from written notes to digital notes. I use “Simplenote” ● Very simple ● Just text ● Available on Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, Web ● Syncs across all platforms ● Very quick to use Others ● Googlekeep ● Microsoft ToDo ● Evernote ● Onenote Demo to audience
  19. 19. #3 Task management app Notes eventually become tasks. Use a task management app. Like Asana ● Easy to create and prioritise tasks. ● Assign and set due dates ● Chat and collaborate ● Run full projects Other solutions ● Trello ● ClickUp ● Height ● Monday ● Office 365 Demo to audience
  20. 20. ● Faster way to communicate, and more likely to be read ● For low level communication ● E.g. Reminders to submit Agenda items ● Make sure it doesn't spill over into discussing agenda items ● Messages that require a formal decision or resolution are always backed up by email (or letter) ● Make sure all councillors have or want to use group messaging ● Look up Mistley Parish Council WhatsApp policy Enterprise chat tools Slack, Teams, Google Chat, Discord #4 Message instead of email Demo to slack audience
  21. 21. #5 Google Docs - online colloboration Demo to audience Stop using desktop apps and desktop storage and migrate to the cloud using Google Workspace Login in from anywhere, anytime. Share files and collaborate together, Never attach a copy of file again Comment and edit same file Full version history Great for GDPR compliance Data backed up Easier to use than desktop apps Alternatives ● Office365 ● Zoho ● Dropbox
  22. 22. Delegate sending, sharing and scheduling to software. Emails - try mailchimp (manages GDPR too) Social Media - try Hootsuite Meetings - try Calendly, Doodle #6 Scheduling Stuff Demo to audience
  23. 23. #7 Quantified Self The Quantified Self movement defines the self-tracking, measurement and quantification of all aspects of daily life using technology like applications and wearable smart devices, such as activity trackers, sleep monitor and app tracking. ● Apple or Google Fitness ● Strava ● App Screentime (personal) ● Rescuetime (work) Measure what you are doing, then improve
  24. 24. #8 App integration and Automation Apps often integrate with other other apps (to streamline workflows and reduce admin) For example easily add tasks to your task management system ● Forward Email to create task in Asana ● Google Form Submission creates a task in Asana More advanced automation using ● IFTTT ● Zapier Demo to audience add tasks
  25. 25. #9 Scribe Accounts Running the cashbook at the administrative level is IMPORTANT, but NOT URGENT Tasks related to producing reports for meetings, completing VAT Claims, budget submission, year-end and preparing for internal audit tend to escalate into IMPORTANT and URGENT The higher up the pyramid the more stress and anxiety, It does not have to be that way
  26. 26. #9 Scribe Accounts
  27. 27. Add rocketfuel to your productivity with multiple applications or seamlessly integrated. Unlimited users enables your team to work collaboratively and efficiently. Products include: ⚖ Accounts 🪦 Cemetery Management 🏛 Venue Hire 🥕 Allotments All data in one place, backed-up and compliant. #9 Scribe Apps
  28. 28. #10 Bonus top 10 tools 1. Expensify - capture your expenses with receipts and create reports 2. MindMeister - mind mapping 3. Loom - screen recording and sharing 4. Canva - create brochures, posters & social media posts and much more 5. LastPass - password management 6. Instapaper - save articles from the internet to read later 7. Grammarly - grammar and spell checker 8. Mural - brainstorming, collaborate and think visually 9. HabitShare - habit tracking (“don’t break the chain”) 10. Youtube - learn anything and everything, including fitness and wellbeing

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