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Planning gives you the upper hand.

MANY ARE THE NIGHTS when I leave the office for home and ask myself what I accomplished for the good of our readers and society. Frequently, I get the feeling that time and budgets -- especially time -- manage me, rather than that I manage them.

Still, there have been occasional successes, especially with planning, that may be worth sharing.

1. Set an annual issues agenda. This will allow you the opportunity to march to your own drum on occasion, and to break free from the front page or the local front. This practice also ensures that you will always have a general topic to revisit, especially at times when the news is slow. Also, you can make assignments on these topics that have a deadline of a few days out, rather than the same day.

2. Schedule regular staff meetings to do planning and review process matters. We do this over lunch once a month. This tends to be the best time to look ahead and get prepared for what's down the road -- elections, for instance, or a legislative session. It's also quality time to examine how we do what we do, and to look at options for fixing problems. Why are we consistently missing deadlines? How are we doing in getting a diversity of voices on the op-ed page?

3. Make time for an annual, day-long retreat. Be sure to discuss ways of better connecting with readers. Invite an NCEW member from another nearby newspaper to join you and offer fresh perspectives on your concerns. Come up with a list of goals to accomplish over the next 12 months. Set deadlines. Then use your monthly planning luncheons to review your progress.

4. Limit meetings with outside groups. As much as possible, confine nestings with outside interest groups to blocks of time that least interfere with staff research and writing hours. Try limiting those meetings to 30 minutes. Learn how to say no to such meetings if they can better be handled by phone or by mailing a packet of information. Finally, before you're over your head in work, delegate.

NCEW member Ronald D. Clark is editorial page editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:The Masthead Symposium: Managing Time and Money; time management
Author:Clark, Ronald D.
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Sep 22, 1993
Previous Article:Managing money is tough, but time is harder.
Next Article:Set priorities if you want to keep your sanity.

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