The NCSL Blog


Editor's note: NCSL knows how vital legislative staff are to their legislatures. To help you prepare for the upcoming legislative session, we’ve planned a week of tips and resources chosen specifically for staff, including a webinar on Wednesday: “Keys to an Effective Message: Story Principles, Focused Messaging and Communication Styles.” (Register here.)

Today’s Tip: Be More Productive!

By Holly South

With session prep gearing up in most legislatures around the country, staff to-do lists may be getting a bit unwieldy. But here’s one item you should add to the top: Simplify your to-do list!

Curt Stedron of NCSL’s Legislative Training Program knows you can do it—and emphasizes that it’s not a matter of increased energy (though we can help with that, too) as much as a “sharper focus on what matters, and a system of prioritizing tasks that makes that distinction crystal clear.”

He recommends a simple (if ruthless) method of reorganizing your to-do list—think of it as legislative triage. Assign each of your tasks to a category ranging in importance from the highest priority to things you can potentially eliminate:

Not only will your 14-item to-do list appear more manageable, but your priorities become clear. And what was once long and overwhelming is now focused—and more achievable.

Bookmark this State Legislatures magazine article and refer to it next time your to-do list threatens to overwhelm you!

Check back tomorrow for your daily tip—and, above all, remember that NCSL is YOUR organization, so let us know what NCSL can do for you. If you work in a state that won’t hold a regular session next year, NCSL is here to help you, too, with interim responsibilities or as you plan ahead.

And if you’re in a state whose 2019 session is still going strong, we hope knowing that NCSL is in your corner will keep you motivated to reach the finish line. So, keep your tote bag loaded with tools from NCSL and you’ll be ready for anything the new year brings. 

Holly South is a policy specialist in NCSL's Legislative Staff Services Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.