Spinning the plates – managing your time and workload when clerking multiple schools.
Many clerks work across multiple schools/academies, all with different requirements but similar meeting schedules! The more you clerk, the harder it is to juggle your time and stay organised. This article provides some ideas for keeping those clerking plates spinning.
There are still schools who set their next date at the end of each meeting – this is a nightmare for a busy clerk. Wherever possible, make sure dates are set for the full year. You may not be responsible for setting the dates, but offer to coordinate this – it will save time in the long-term. It also provides the opportunity to coordinate the schedules across your schools and prevent clashes. There may be changes and additions but knowing your meeting calendar in advance is half the battle.
Deadlines for completing meeting paperwork are essential for keeping organised. These are probably in place if you clerk through an SLA or clerking service; however, employed clerks are less likely to have them. They can be a real lifesaver by keeping you organised and motivated.
Use your meeting schedule and deadlines to produce your own work planner, using Excel, Outlook, a diary or whatever works for you. Highlight the clerking tasks – agenda setting, circulating papers, meeting attendance, drafting minutes, Chair’s approval and, if relevant, making a pay claim – and then map them throughout the year so you are clear what needs to be done when. It sounds time-consuming; however, once set up you know at a glance your outstanding tasks, upcoming work and availability.
It always pays to stick to your deadlines, even the self-imposed ones. Minutes pile up if you don’t keep on top of them, which can quickly become overwhelming. If you find yourself in this position, speak up, talk to your Chair and make a realistic plan for catching up.
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