Ah. Trainers are creative beasts. Unfortunately, this leads to many inefficient, but fun, work habits. For example, I love playing with colour and design. This means I can dedicate many hours to PowerPoint design, even when my presentation will only be used once. From a business perspective, obviously this is not the best use of my time.
Luckily, I’ve been around long enough to have developed some more effective work practices. There are dozens of ways trainers can save time and energy. From leaving our travel bags packed and ready to go after every trip, through to reviewing our IT systems, smart trainers are organised trainers.
My favourite three tricks for saving time and working smarter are outlined below. I’d love to hear your ideas as well. How many of you already use these techniques?
If you’re going to do it more than once, create a template
Although our content changes from session to session, our basic work systems shortened. You will save hours each week if you use consistent templates for PowerPoint, session plans and participant manuals. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also develop templates for project plans, work procedures, course outlines and promotional content.
Most trainers are pretty good at talking. We know how to improvise and express ideas. So why do we spend hours typing our training notes? Newsflash! Dictation is faster than typing – even if you type exceptionally well. So make use of voice recognition software. If you find it’s not accurate enough try using ‘transcribe from recording’ instead of live dictation. It seems to be more accurate in many cases.
Outsource formatting and layout tasks
You’re a presenter, not a graphic designer. Outsourcing makes sense. Not only will your documents look far superior when you outsource design, you’ll also save yourself a lot of time. Yes, I know that playing with PowerPoint and Word layouts can be enjoyable. The bottom line, though, is that you are a course creator. Spend your time on strategic tasks, and delegate or outsource the nitty-gritty formatting jobs.
Remember that saying no to admin tasks frees you to focus on developing your stage skills and mastering new content. Do the maths. If you saved two hours a week on non-essential work, imagine what you could learn over 365 days in a year.
About the author: Eleanor Shakiba
Eleanor is a positive psychology trainer and coach. Her passion is teaching skills for positive thinking, proactive communication and purposeful leadership. Her clients work in academia, education, IT, engineering, finance and health. Eleanor is qualified in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She’s the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners , a free resource for trainers.