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April Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold Nash, from the 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 13, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold Nash, from the 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 13, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C.- --

"Investing quality time in our people"

I want to spend few minutes discussing the investment in our people, and what the impact of that investment means from to the frontline leader down to the lowest-level supervisor. Establishing targeted investment in personnel directly impacts our ability to successfully accomplish our goals, objectives and more importantly our assigned mission. It's been demonstrated that if we make the investment in our members and give them the freedom, resources and environment to excel, they will be able to build technical competence. This in turn will afford them the opportunity to build supervisory, leadership and management theories into skills that result in successful units at all levels.

One of the most important investments is time, time that we invest in our personnel and how we utilize that time during Regular Scheduled Drill (RSD) periods. Time invested in training is not just a passing thought. It is the most integral part of becoming and remaining a relevant unit in the world of fighting for dollars and dimes for continued existence. Being a guard unit presents many unique challenges due to the limited time we have as it relates to maintaining a high state of readiness from the training and medical standpoint. Currently we find ourselves experiencing the challenges of effective time management as we move towards the final stages of preparation for the upcoming Theater Security Package deployment.  Trying to complete all of the obligations can become a stressful nightmare for all parties involved if we don't maximize our time and organize, review and lay out a clear plan of attack to proceed in an orderly fashion.  This is just one example of how important and difficult it is to effectively utilize our precious time during our training periods for planning future events.

As top-level leaders, managers, supervisors and frontline working Airmen, let's take a look at a few options to aid us in time management. These are helpful not only on a daily basis but especially during our RSDs when we have the attention of all assigned personnel. Start your day out with a list of things you know you tend to waste time on; social media, cell phone, allowing meetings to extend much longer than they should, probably three of the more prevalent time-wasters. Keep the list nearby. When you notice you are wasting time, add that time-waster to your list. This will serve as a reminder of things you shouldn't allow yourself to do when you have priority tasks in front of you. Set daily or even hourly goals with reminders as we all know each day presents new priorities, suspense's and challenges that seem to appear out of nowhere. Assign priorities while completing the most important task first. Stop trying to multi-task. We cannot effectively multi-task. As humans, we tend to move our attention from one task to another so quickly that we fool ourselves into thinking we are multi-tasking only to discover we have not completely finished any of the tasks.  Additionally, make use of dead time, if you are lucky enough to be current on all of the days tasks start planning ahead and build your strategy for the next day's events. This will reduce and possibly prevent stressful situations in the future.

Finally, answer this question to yourself, "am I investing quality time in my people, or just filling squares?"  I will close with this nicely written time management quote. "He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign." - Victor Hugo