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Lifesaving techniques for the sea of paperwork.

Several years ago, futurists proclaimed that the computer would eliminate the use of paper, or at least highly reduce it. Unfortunately, for some of us, it feels like the reverse happened. There seemingly is more paperwork than ever.

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While you certainly do more things online in your position, often you have to backup these efforts with hardcopies, and you probably haven't gotten to the point that you require your athletes to submit their eligibility forms electronically. Thus, there are still mounds of paperwork that probably cross your desk daily.

Also, increasing with the amount of new regulations and procedures is the paperwork that comes with. It seems that each month brings something new and nothing is ever taken off your plate. There is more to do and less time to do it.

Since you will continue to face an enormous amount of paperwork, the following suggestions may help in your efforts to avoid drowning.

Since the use of paper isn't about to disappear anytime soon, it would be wise to find ways to handle it more efficiently. If you don't handle the paperwork better, you may have to ask your principal for another office just to store the ever-increasing load.

With all the paper around you and arriving daily, you run the risk of drowning in it, and that's no fun.

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1. Only deal with paper once--mail, forms, or a report. Read and file or read to distribute. But don't allow paper to accumulate on your desk, because a pile soon arises. Once a stack of paper begins to grow, another soon follows; the first gets too high and runs the risk of falling over.

2. File forms immediately, don't start another pile. Of course, this means that you first have to have a filing system in place. Using an alphabetical system is not a bad way to go. Or perhaps a separate file cabinet for eligibility, another for sport specific items such as budget information for each sport, officials vouchers, etc.

3. In order to develop a better and more efficient system, try to visit other athletic directors and see how they do it. This is one topic that is not usually covered in any course. Take a field trip to come up with some new ideas.

4. Arrange your tasks by their due dates and begin to collect the necessary data or information. If you will need information from your coaches in order to complete the form, it is important to contact them immediately. An e-mail distribution list is an efficient and easy method to get the message out.

5. Set due dates for your coaches to complete and return their forms. When establishing the completion date for your coaches, give yourself a buffer before you have to submit the form. This gives you a chance to chase after any coach who is late submitting the form to you and to make any corrections that might be necessary.

6. Delegate the completion of any pertinent forms to your coaches. For example, our state and invitational tournaments need entry forms to verify participation and these ideally should be completed by the coaches who are involved. Once finished, the athletic director may need to check and then submit the form, but the responsibility should belong to the coach.

7. Set time aside in your daily schedule to handle the incoming mail. For example, throw away (recycle if you can) the duplicate catalogues that arrive week after week and distribute mail intended for your various coaches. Consider using a binder in which you keep a master copy of your most used forms and documents. This approach saves time when you are running low on a particular form so that you don't have to search around in your file cabinets for a copy. They are all conveniently together and easy to find.

8. Saving your forms, entries, and reports on your computer is another great method but you also have to design a good filing system and one that you can easily use. One practical suggestion is to file documents under multiple headings and in multiple folders so that you can quickly retrieve them when you forget where you have filed them. Use the Document Search feature on your computer to locate documents and folders that you can't locate. To use this feature, enter all or part of the document name. You can also delineate your search to the last week, month or year.

9. Another advantage of keeping your normal, often used documents on the Computer is that you can quickly and easily edit them. For example, to use a particular form for the next school year, you only have to quickly change the date and you are ready to go.

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, Baltimore County, MD
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Title Annotation:A.D.MINISTRATION
Author:Hoch, David
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2008
Words:802
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