Raise your hand if you ever attended a training event and gotten fired-up, but within 48-hours of returning to your office, the fire sizzled out. This time, you promised it would be different. After all, you invested time and money to attend the event. But somehow, once again, when you arrived back, the task tsunami on your desk doused the flame again. This article provides 10 tips on how to keep your event fire glowing.
When You Decide to Attend
Simultaneously schedule in your calendar a follow-up appointment with yourself—plan 30 minutes for every 3-hours of presentations.
During the Event
Use breaks or transition times to make notes on the backs of business cards of new contacts. Include the date, follow-up actions, and details.
Scan the handouts. Decide if they are meaty enough to keep. If yes, date them and label the location of their next destination in your office (i.e., a file) or to whom you will send it.
Often you need only a few pages. In this case, fold over the corners and label with their destination, as above, to quickly retrieve them.
During presentations, use your notes to capture action items. For instance, when the speaker suggests following up with new contacts and gives several examples, jot down, Develop a tickler system for 48-hour follow-up with potential donors.
As the speaker summarizes, review your notes and select your top three-five action items. Place large checks or stars next to them.
Your Post-Meeting Appointment
Review handouts and notes. Complete any tasks that take ten minutes or less, like sending materials to a colleague or adding a book to your reading list.
Schedule time for any remaining items. Calendars that allow you to schedule to-do lists are helpful. I use Planner Pad (www.plannerpads.com). In addition to the daily appointment area, it provides space for weekly activities by categories and daily to-do lists.
If your schedule can’t fit new projects, create a folder of future project ideas. Add any unassigned action items to the folder with today’s date.
Quarterly, review the folder and schedule projects. After one year, discard unused items.
Discard everything else. Yes. I’m serious. Why add unrealistic tasks to your life? Actions that aren’t enough a priority for your calendar or a future project folder are in the incubation stage. Celebrate that you deposited the check and throw away the envelope in which it arrived.
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