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4 Advocacy Tasks Stealing Time from Your Day

How many of these time suckers are you doing?

''Lost time is never found again' '“ Benjamin Franklin

One of the recurring traps we all fall into is convincing ourselves we have enough time. During the quiet periods it often seems true; our processes are manageable and seem to be working fine.

It's only when a campaign really heats up that we scramble to find enough hours to get the job done, and realise that the systems we thought were adequate are starting to devour our day an hour at a time.

Some feel they work more efficiently using tried and trusted techniques learned over many years. Others are discovering that leveraging data and technology to approach old chores are giving the gift of more time.

Here's four time-vortexes you can avoid falling into by working smarter.

Writing up hand-written notes

It's possibly the last administrative dinosaur that still holds sway in the professional world. Furiously scribbling down notes at a meeting with key stakeholders or government, or forcing a poor staff member to jot down everything agreed to at a meeting; both of which have to be painstakingly re-entered into a database or updated as minutes and distributed.

It's a duplication that so many organisations persist with despite the sheer amount of empty time expended on the exercise. It can also slow progression on a campaign or issue, as staff often have to wait for the full meeting brief to be drafted to confirm exactly what strategies or actions arising were agreed upon.

Constantly holding meetings to keep track of campaigns

Many organisations have multiple advocacy issues or campaigns running at once. Keeping track of each element of a campaign, or tracking where an issue is up to within government often requires multiple meetings each week.

It sometimes feels like more time is spent spinning wheels, working out where each issue or campaign is up to, than is spent on actually making forward progress.

Writing up reports

Professionals from across the industry will at some stage need to write up campaign reports. Lobby firms do it for their clients, industry bodies for the Boards and members, in-house corporate affairs teams for the senior execs. No one can escape it, but most can make it more efficient.

Having a centralised repository of information from which to export campaign information can significantly reduce the time spent writing reports, especially if you're still using your Outlook calendar to see what meetings you've been taking.

Updating political contact spreadsheets

Anyone following the media will know that politics is more uncertain than it has ever been. In the age of 'gotcha!' media, citizenship woes and elections every few months, turnover in political offices is increasingly difficult to keep up with.

If your organisation deals with multiple levels of government, it's possible to lose hours a week pouring over spreadsheets of political contacts. Even the simple task of keeping up with portfolio changes can quickly tie up resources.

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