Thursday, June 7, 2012

Better Time Management - Large Reports

Substantial reports:


Sizeable reports, who wants them? Well possibly a few individuals appreciate them, however, primarily, most individuals would sooner study the telephone directory. I imagine this can get still more challenging if the report is in digital format. Have you ever received a pdf report that is very large and all you can do is read it? If it has been provided in a format that you can't edit it may be not easy to add notes, write in the margins or even highlight parts.

So, you could be left with the alternative of printing it out then including notes. This can become a time waster and an exercise in using up paper. This has definitely happened to me on lots of occasions.

It would be very nice if you received a concise, manageable report that presented the central facts in a manner that is easy to see and digest? So, get better time management techniques with a a couple of ideas.

Report summary

Realising that every report should have a reason, a summary will present the key conclusions of the report. From this, you can examine the core of the main body of the report for additional information as required. The summary ought to be up front. This is possibly the most important aspect. The circulation list should be well defined. There is little point in giving out a report to individuals with minimal stake in its findings. If doubtful ask.

The report lacks a summary

So, what are your choices if you receive a report that has no summary? Well, one option is to take it and read the whole report and then pick out your particular conclusions. This may not be the most efficient use of your limited time. You might try out the following ideas.

You might think about returning the report and requesting the originator to include a summary. This method has particular risks. Do you have the authority to do this? Will you offend the author and produce ill feeling? Will the same thing just happen, once more, in the future? Obviously, if you advance on this pathway the better tactic might be to approve the report, as it is, and invite the writer to generate summaries for all reports in the future.

Typically, this is best carried out person-to-person and not by means of an email. When you are approaching the author you can request a summary of the present report, describing the major aspects and any distinct issues that you ought to recognize.

Another awkward technique is to delegate the reading of the report to a different person with the purpose of providing you with a summary. This tactic may only prove useful if you realize that this individual has a relevant interest in the contents of the report. Otherwise, you may as well approach the author.

If you have no choice but to review an extensive report to obtain the essential points then breaking up the activity may help for a few. For better time management why not read it at intervals, where you have some spare time? In this way, a big report may not be quite so boring, as it may first look, and the job may be reduced - a little.

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