Here are some helpful time management tips from Soldiers who filled out a survey I sent out. Enjoy. There are some real nuggets in here.
“The best time management tip that I could give is to make a ‘tentative plan!’ I have found with myself that if I don’t have a foundational plan when planning for drill, AT and even traveling to duty locations, I tend to be more unorganized. When I make a ‘tentative plan’ about two weeks before an event, I have time to adjust fire, because we all know that no plan survives first contact!” ~ Mike K. CPT, ARNG
“Do not look at the National Guard as a part-time position. If you can’t separate yourself from your personal life long enough to get the job done any day of the month, you’re going to have a very tough time leading soldiers. Set aside time daily to communicate with your unit, foster relationships with the full-time support staff and to take care of any administrative needs they have. They will appreciate you for it and you won’t be marginalized for being ‘part-time’.” ~ Patrick D., CPT
“My best time management tip is to use backwards planning. I practiced this skill when I was younger, now I don’t even think about it. I also prioritize what tasks are a must-do and urgent, and on down until I get to what can be put off until the next day if necessary. I find that if I give myself ample time to accomplish tasks, I don’t feel as stressed out when the last minute changes come up (because they always do).” ~ Candace G. 2LT, ARNG
“Prioritize and complete immediate taskers first. Use your Executive Officers and Operations Officers for guidance. Develop training schedules for BTA/Drill periods and send them out at least one week before BTA. Learn to delegate and use your E4s to their maximum potential. Your E4s will be E5/Sergeants very quickly upon mobilization and must learn to take charge and utilize many skills to complete missions.” ~ JPO
“I am at annual training now so time management is key. I have found that knowing what the tasks and what the priorities are can be key in managing your time. It is also important to be able to delegate tasks to subordinates because there is no way you can do it all yourself.” ~ 1SG Brian M., ARNG
“I am married, work full time, involved in a soccer league, and serve a local church as a worship leader and community group leader. Not only that, I set aside some time for myself for personal development. Due to having a hectic schedule, I came up with a solution to keep track of my daily schedule.
I have a giant calendar on my desk, where I have written down all my appointments, plans, and meetings. On my lap top, I have notes for critical tasks. Lastly, I have a small planner that I keep track of my daily schedule in details. Now this sounds crazy, but I am really used to it. Because of this system that I had created for myself, I never missed or forgotten anything important. (Not recently~) This might not work for you, but I encourage you to create a system for yourself.” ~ 2LT Israel K., ARNG
“Do not be afraid of working outside of drill. The Army is hard and it only gets harder with more rank. Whenever soldiers go to drill, they can tell which NCOs and officers do not care about the army outside of drill. They are the ones that fail the APFT and come to drill clueless to what’s going on during that weekend. Working outside of drill also means attending professional development schools. I’ve met too many leaders that don’t go to their military schools and become comfortable “claiming” a position within a unit. This de-motivates soldiers below them because they refuse to get promoted or change units.
Another small thing that’s helped me tremendously since becoming a Guardsman was investing $250 in a tiny notebook computer. It’s small enough that I can carry it anywhere with a CAC card reader, an SD card, and all of my army forms. Rather than waiting for a computer to open up at work or school, I just pull out very quickly to check my e-mails or work on documents. It’s saved me a ton of time because I can work on information faster and respond to e-mails in a timely manner without having to go home.” ~ 1LT Moses W., ARNG
The bottom line is that ARNG and USAR leaders must manage their time effectively. Your job is much more than one weekend a month. You need to learn how to get everything done efficiently and effectively, so you can have balance in your military, job and family life. What are your thoughts? What are your best time management tips? Leave a comment and let us know!