In my experience, a lot of youth workers are fantastic with face-to-face delivery but not all of them work very efficiently or in an organized manner. Here are 3 tips to help you run your youth work administration more efficiently:
1) Computer Folder Organization
Do you spend most of your time searching your documents, desktop or memory sticks looking for that document…from that time…when you did that thing… with those youth?
Setting up folders, and not just saving everything to your desktop (makes your computer slower anyways!) or to My Documents, will shorten your searching time because you’ll know where to start.
2) File Naming
So you’re ready to put those files in folders, only to have documents 1-982, PDFs with names like ‘Dear Mr Jones’ and ‘August 15, 2006’ and Excel Workbooks 1-6 to have to search through to put them in the correct folders.
When you save a file, think of it like a canned (or tinned, my UK friends) vegetable, fruit or bean. Just like you wouldn’t take all the labels off your canned food and put it in your cupboard (UK friends – mmm… instead of beans on toast for breakfast its a surprise – today could be asparagus!), don’t just save your files with generic or indecipherable titles.
Save youth work session plans as ‘youth work session plans (with year)’ or project budget spreadsheets as ‘youth program name budget (with year)’, etc. It will help you organize and find old resources so much faster. Remember: The key to good file naming is that it should ‘do what is says on the tin’. Plus you can use the computer’s search function much more easily.
3) Invest in a Scanner
Scanners are getting cheaper and smaller all the time. You can save all those important youth work papers for years to come. Scan old permission slips, photo release forms, youth work evaluations, paper resources that are not from the internet, receipts for budgeting… this list goes on and on.
Not only will your desk and office feel less cluttered, you’ll be able to find it far more easily because you’ll have named it properly and saved it in a file… right?!
Question: What is one thing you could do, right now, to make your youth work administration more efficient? Let us know in the comments below.
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